The 2022 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence Poster Presentations were held on April 27, 2022 at the Alumni Arena.
Alexandra Marchioli & Thomas Stankowski
The School of Architecture's final design studio in the undergraduate curriculum focuses on housing and its crucial role in shaping the city. This year we focused on the East Side of Buffalo and how housing-led interventions could positively impact marginalized urban areas. In response to this, our project proposes a design with eight true corner stores- including on-street Parking in front of each Store- with the intention that a small mini-commercial district could evolve over time. The build also breaks the current north-south massing orientation of the site to an east-west orientation. This allows for a huge gain in south facade surfaces, giving us the opportunity to go off-grid for heat in the winter in the Residential Units. This passive heating system is a more sustainable approach to design with a reduction in energy costs and carbon emissions. This design would create a commercial epicenter in the East Side and be a focal point for the revitalization of the city of Buffalo.
The main goal of my project is to reflect the 1619 episode by Nikole Hannah-Jones in different abstracted iterations of the American flag with profound meanings for each element of this flag. These flags will be developed as a set of architectural drawings starting with a plan, section and 3d drawings tell the full story of 1619. Each drawing is annotated and labeled with different keys to highlight events and key items for everyone to read and browse the story in a way that can present it as a real architectural drawing can be suggested for a client to read.
Benjamin Coates & Antonio Vargas
GROWHUB focuses on the production of nutritious fresh food, aiming to transform Willert Park - which has few fresh food resources - into a hub that will attract investment, development, businesses and residents.
The anchor of the development is a trio of food-centered businesses that provide employment for residents in the neighborhood. A grocery store on the ground level of the existing building on Pratt is complemented by an indoor hydroponic vertical farm and an open-air garden terrace on the second floor, and greenhouses on the roof. Residential units at the north end of the second floor are entered from a lobby on Pratt; each unit has a private garden terrace.
Dual aspect units in each bar feature generous east and west facing garden terraces between two layers of operable glazing. This double facade enables units to expand and contract, so they can be small and super-insulated in winter, and large and open-air in summer.
Lauren Herran & Abdulquddus Mohammad
Buffalo is known as "The City of Good Neighbors" because they have welcomed many refugees and immigrants throughout history. PatchWork aims to provide affordable housing for the residents located in East Buffalo as well as incoming refugees and immigrants seeking housing, employment, and a safe environment in which they could celebrate their culture and heritage. Due to refugees and immigrants' unique and varying situations, our goal was to prioritize flexible and adaptable public and private spaces. To help mediate the relationship between the incoming residents and the Eastside community, the ground level utilizes a screening system that allows for these public spaces to be adjusted based on their size and program. Patchwork intends to accommodate the different family structures in refugees and immigrants while providing resources and support services for them to become successful, active, and contributing members of the community.
When investigating what I defined as rest, I found public spaces often exclude children in the preoperational stage. As a rest stop for all, I aim to advocate for these populations through rethinking rest as, the freedom to explore spaces in an imaginative fashion. Through research and a survey done on preschool and kindergarten students, I began to understand the ideal dimensions for spaces for these individuals and what is important for their cognitive development. Through precedents and looking for inspiration from Aldo Van Eyck, whose minimalistic design approach stimulated creativity, and a faculty member here at UB, Julia Jamozik, I began to develop the spatial qualities and form of my project. The overall form of the building consists of tunnels that wrap around cylindrical cores that hold different programs. These tunnels snake in and out of spaces allowing the children to learn from their environment and become observers.
The Design of public spaces for "all" often excludes deer and their interaction with human spaces. Many precedent projects I have discovered are human focused with little interaction that is specific to deer, excluding some of the qualities and moments that could be gained from the study of deer's perception of rest. These spaces should express deer's definition of rest within architecture. To begin to address these issues, the project proposes several spatial and programmatic ideas and strategies.
During the summer of 2021, I competed design research studies for two global projects. The work was for an home in India made completely from brick construction and a facade competition in Japan.
Sarah Martin, Joshua McClain & Annalyse Paulsen
Convergent Histories on Broadway examines the history of Buffalo's Broadway Armory-the present-day Department of Public Works Garage-and the surrounding Pratt-Willert neighborhood, home of Buffalo's first African American community. This project explores how "normative" and "non-normative" methods of preservation can be employed to re-envision areas that are historically and culturally significant but where decades of disinvestment has led to the decline of the built environment. The Negro Motorist Green Books, travel guides for black travelers published between 1936 and 1966, provided insight into the emergence of the Black community within Pratt-Willert, and a possible theme for future preservation and interpretation efforts. The report culminates with proposals for how the Broadway Armory could be redeveloped as a cultural and community center to improve the quality of life for residents, and recommendations for the creation of an African American cultural district, providing an attraction for the city at large.
This research paper examines the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on economic development, focusing specifically on minority owned small businesses in the West Side of Buffalo. It is predicted that the pandemic has and will continue to impact small businesses locally in the Buffalo region negatively and broadly across the United States. The research relied heavily on online resources such as news articles, peer-reviewed journals, and census data related to the COVID-19 impact on small businesses. Furthermore, site visits and interviews with small businesses owners and non-profit organizations helped richen the research. The research concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed impacted small businesses locally and across the United States. However, the negative impacts are notably more significant in small businesses that are minority owned. In addition, this research is a vital addition to the existing pool of research. It aims to inform policymakers, government officials, and city leaders in making decisions regarding small businesses and COVID-19.
The design for Educational Spaces for Mental Health combined the knowledge of best practices (best practices were learned in a previous course taught by Kelly Hayes McAlonie, Director of Campus Planning), interviews with subjects, and information about the 8 goals of Universal design. The project seeks to address the growing number of 18-29 year-olds reporting symptoms of depression. By holding interviews with persons who identify with having a neurodivergence, specifically depression, I was able to identify aspects of the built environment in education spaces which needed improvement. These areas were identified by having subjects recall space where they felt supported, and space where they felt uncomfortable or not supported based upon their direct experience. The design of space through color, lighting, technology, arrangement, furniture, and stimuli seeks to engage positive reactions of students with one or more neurodivergence in areas of visual agency, personalization, and quality of space and materials.
In America, many perceive rail travel as a luxury. What makes commuter rail a transportation justice issue, and what might a just railroad for the working poor and lower middle class look like? Commuter rail was created for and still frequently assumes suburban middle-class workers commuting to downtowns for a 9 am to 5 pm shift. In recent decades, employment and poverty have suburbanized. Pricing, schedules, and station locations pose obstacles to low-income users of commuter rail. Strategies to increase accessibility of commuter rail for low-income commuters should include fare reductions, extended off-peak service, and carless first/last mile connectivity. The project traces the history of commuter rail, then defines "transportation justice" and how commuter rail has historically been unjust. Then the project examines two commuter rail studies incorporating equity considerations and uses those as a base to identify obstacles and prescribe solutions to transportation justice for low-income communities.
Claire Brinkworth, Olivia Jiang, Jack Montalto, Liam Mussi, Nathaniel Rogers, Matthew Sieracki, Christopher Vaughan & Bobby Zhao
The Buffalo Arts Commission (BAC) is responsible for the management, conservation, and acquisition of public art owned by the City of Buffalo, New York. This study of our studio focused particularly on memorials within the City; public art forms that celebrate and honor a local community's history, giving recognition to significant events and figures that have impacted the community. An analysis of existing memorials in Buffalo has unearthed a number of notable shortcomings in the city's public art collection. Recognizing how to increase representation within the public art inventory, physical and social challenges were identified that affect the planning, design, and development of public art in a city. This public partnership will allow the opportunity to address the representation gaps found within Buffalo's public art stock and address the changing values of the City that are reflected in the built environment.
Researchers have reported both strong associations with ecological variables and social variables further perpetuating discourse on which selection pressures are actually influencing primate brain evolution. We merged multiple datasets treating diet as a continuous variable and as a discrete variable. We categorized each primate species into two categories based on the diversity of their diets. We identified "Generalists" as having a high dietary diversity, where no one food item made up 30% or more of their diet. The "Specialist" species group has very low diet diversity and one specific item makes up 60% or more of their diet. We ran a series of phylogenetic generalized least-squares regressions to identify any links among dependent variables: hippocampus volume, main olfactory bulb volume, accessory olfactory bulb volume and neocortex volume, against independent variables: the proportion of key diet items and dietary diversity. We found variable support in this dataset for significant associations between select brain regions proportions and dietary variables.
Spatial knowledge should result in faster speeds towards known locations. However, increased speed can decrease security due to lower levels of vigilance. Latrines are a stable resource, and a known spatial landmark for the Southern bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis). We predict that frequently used latrines (F) are approached faster than novel latrines (N). If H. meridionalis is concerned about intergroup competition, then they should approach shared latrines (SL) slower than non-shared latrines (NSL). We calculated latrine approach speed (n= 418) by three groups of H. meridionalis from January - December 2013. We separated latrines by usage frequency and shared utilization between groups. SL had a slower average approach speed (3.33 ± 4.21 m/min) than NSL (4.96 ± 9.9 m/min). Usage frequency did not impact approach speed. Our results suggest that security impacts SL approach speed and could indicate that SL play a role in avoiding agnostic interactions between groups.
Juliana D'Orazio & Joyce Marshall
An essential component of primatological research looks at what primates eat and how that may vary among species, populations, and in different ecological contexts. Despite the prevalence of diet research in primatology, what we see in publications is a lot of variety in how it's reported. Less variation in how we report primate diet could make it easier to assess intra- and interspecies differences. In this project we looked at trends in how primate data is reported over the last 10 years. We used the database Web of Science to pull papers on primate diets published between 1/1/11 and 1/31/21. We found that most papers reported the intake rate, which varies from the previously more common time spent feeding reporting methods. Additionally, the categories authors used to define diet composition were not consistent, where the main difference was between studies that clumped categories (e.g. Plant parts) and those that were more specific (e.g. flowers and leaves). In the future, primatologists could strive to standardize how we report diet variation data to increase comparability.
Primate vocalizations vary from low frequency peeps to screaming alarm calls. Sonic vocalization (SV) is the primary way primates communicate to each other. All primates have SVs within the hearing range of humans (≤20Hz), but some can vocalize ultrasonically (≥20kHz). Ultrasonic vocalization (USV) occurs in many primates but the development of USV is still debated. We determined the evolution of vocal ranges in primates by estimating the vocal range frequency of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for primates. We built a dataset of known vocal ranges for 51 primate species noting their highest vocal ranges (M = 28,076 Hz, SD = 5,226 Hz) and lowest (M = 6,336 Hz, SD = 2,414 Hz). We constructed a phylogenetic tree to plot the divergence of vocal ranges found in extant primate species. By determining the evolutionary pathways of vocal ranges, we can understand its development in extant primates.
Pia Franziska Schwarz
Hybrid zones provide natural experiments to study speciation. In this study, we examine a secondary contact hybrid zone between the Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi) and the Johnny Darter (E. nigrum) in the Genesee River system. We investigated E. olmstedi and E. nigrum species interactions and aimed to determine whether there is broad-scale collapse into a single hybrid swarm or maintenance of distinct species identity. From wild populations, we collected 314 specimens, extracted DNA, prepared genomic libraries, and used Illumina low-coverage whole genome sequencing (lcWGS) to genotype all individuals. lcWGS data were processed with bioinformatic tools to determine patterns of genomic divergence between the two species. We analyzed lcWGS genotypes to draw conclusions on the hybrid zone dynamics and structure, as well as to correlate species distributions and genomic ancestry with stream habitats. Our results will guide future study of speciation in the E. olmstedi x E. nigrum hybrid zone.
The American black bear is the sole extant member in the bear family that is endemic to North America. American black bears are divided into two lineages: continental, which occupies a broad range of North America, and coastal, which is found along the Pacific Northwest Coast. Previous studies of black bear populations have relied mostly on mitochondrial DNA data and focused on regional populations of the continental lineage, neglecting the coastal lineage's origin. This study analyzed whole genome sequence data of both coastal and continental-lineage bears across North America. Our goals were twofold: examine phylogeographic structure and admixture on a broad scale, and specifically explore the relation of coastal bears to other bear populations to investigate their potential out of ice age refugia. Our results confirm a strong population genetic structure following geographic distribution and indicate that Southeast Alaska bears are admixed between southwestern North America and continental Alaska.
Mahasweta Archarjee & Serena Teh
The NAD+ dependent Sir2-Sum1 complex in budding yeast regulates transcription by repressing gene expression. Since NAD+ is a common metabolite, the Sir2-Sum1 complex acts as a sensor to regulate gene expression in response to nutrient fluctuations. We studied Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a NAD+ prototroph which can synthesize NAD+, and Kluyveromyces lactis, a NAD+ auxotroph that lacks genes required for NAD+ biosynthesis. The Sir2-Sum1 complex in K. lactis regulates 13 additional transcription factors. To investigate the role of these transcription factors in K. lactis, we used ChIP-qPCR to examine their binding sites. We aim to characterize the targets of these transcription factors using ChIP-seq and determine their role in NAD+ regulation. We hypothesize that these transcription factors self-induce to stabilize the gene expression profile and prepare the cell for future low NAD+ stress. Hence, these targets show how rewiring the Sir2-Sum1 complex allowed budding yeast to evolve distinct responses to nutrient fluctuations.
The RNA cotranscriptional folding process is a ubiquitous property of RNA biogenesis and has been implicated in gene regulation, ribonucleoprotein complex assembly, RNA processing, and RNA folding in general. Current methods for assessing RNA folding lack the necessary throughput for dissecting cotranscriptional RNA folding mechanisms. We are developing a low-bias, high-throughput technology for assessing the activity of thousands of RNA variants simultaneously. Our overarching approach is to partition a high-complexity DNA library based on the function of the RNA variants encoded in the library. We show that complexes isolated by this procedure, called C3-SC1TECs, are >95% pure, >98% active, highly synchronous, and compatible with solid-phase transcription. In addition, we find that C3-SC1TECs perturb, but do not interfere with, the function of transcriptional riboswitches. Importantly, C3-SC1TECs enable us to perform quantitative bacterial in vitro transcription experiments and will facilitate the development of diverse high-throughput assays for measuring RNA function.
The timing of human birth is difficult to predict compared to other species due to evolutionary differences. While the causes of these differences have been identified, the data collected on gene expression in the mother and fetus hasn't been synthesized enough to be directly applied to predicting the timing of birth. Thus, preterm births, "the leading cause of infant and under 5 year old child mortality worldwide", cannot be prevented. To combat this issue, we examined the location and expression of the genes involved in serotonin signaling pathways using the Single Cell Gene Expression Atlas to determine which cells express serotonin receptors, how expression changes throughout pregnancy, and how it differs in humans compared to other placental mammals. Understanding whether these genes are expressed in the maternal or placental cells and their role during normal pregnancies versus complicated ones can decrease the rates of preterm births.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes neuronal damage in many forms. To test how TBI affects mitochondria health, we vortexed Drosophila larvae to mechanically induce stress. We found that vortexed larval brains showed decreased mitochondrial size and increased neuronal cell death when compared to non-vortexed larval brains, indicating that mechanical stress can cause mitochondrial fragmentation and cell death. To further test whether these phenotypes were due to misfolded proteins, we overexpressed a chaperone protein (HSPA) and found that both mitochondrial fragmentation and cell death were rescued. Then, we tested the prediction that excess PI3K should also rescue mitochondrial fragmentation if fragmentation is due to neuronal cell death, since the PI3K pathway is involved in promoting cellular survival and overexpression of PI3K was previously shown to inhibit apoptosis. Taken together our observations indicate that mechanical stress can induce mitochondrial fragmentation and neuronal cell death and that these phenotypes can result due to misfolded proteins. Further, we found that cell death can induce mitochondrial defects.
Approximately 100 million years ago, a whole genome duplication occurred in yeast, giving rise to new species within the family Saccharomycetaceae, including Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As a result of this duplication, these new species have several paralog sets, including the pair SIR3 and ORC1. This study investigates the evolution of Sir3 silencing using mating assays to analyze the function of Sir3 from 21 duplicated yeast species in a sir3-deleted strain of S. cerevisiae. The data shows that seven of the tested species, distributed across most duplicated genera, have a Sir3 protein that can function fully in S. cerevisiae. Thus, the properties necessary for silencing function likely arose in a common ancestor of these species. Additionally, it has already been established that Sir3 underwent changes in its AAA+ subdomain to optimize for silencing. Reconstructions of this region are currently being made to further analyze the ancestral function of Sir3.
Benajmin Bartula, Kelsey Coppola, Kyle Dempsey, Ethan Fargo, Shweta Pillai, Bryan Renzoni, Erika Rizzo & Brendan Roller
Carbon monoxide (CO) can influence regulatory processes within cells, however there is a need for effective targeted delivery methods of such therapeutic agents. One promising solution utilizes a carbon monoxide-releasing molecule, known as a "CORM". This project centers around the organo-manganese(I) tetramer [Mn(CO)3(μ3-OH)]4, known as "cubane," a photo-active CORM with a potential for uses in biological studies. Our work has consisted of optimizing the synthesis (96% yield) and purification of this tetramer through infrared spectroscopy (IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Solutions of cubane in deionized water were studied using an ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer to determine the lambda max (198 nm) and extinction coefficient (4400 ± 100 M-1 cm-1) values. Recently, our group confirmed that twelve equivalents of CO are released upon photolysis of the tetramer via gas chromatography (GC), and we are currently working to analyze the other products of this reaction in order to prepare for biological studies.
Sex and pleasure have played a significant role in the lives of human beings since antiquity. Despite this, modern societies have mixed receptions to sexuality, a subject which is often influenced by other social dynamics. The values of a given community, ancient or modern, typically dictate the role of sex and pleasure among its members. Ancient Greek society in particular had a paradoxical treatment of women and their sexuality. There was both an over-emphasis on and ignorance of women's needs and desires without any real knowledge of their experiences regarding the matter. Unfortunately, the widespread attitude toward this topic as taboo in Western society, expressed in the scholarship of academic fields such as Classics, has created and continued problematic views of eroticism. The examination of sexuality in ancient Greek culture provides an important lens through which to study the complex perceptions of sex and pleasure in ancient and modern societies.
This project examines the history, variety, and significance of queer representation in YA Literature. By examining a wide variety of novels from a range of genres, this project aims to analyze the contribution that YA literature has made to extending the range and visibility of queer lives available to young people. The presentation will conclude by discussing future directions for such representations by answering the following question: "How can YA literature continue to improve its portrayal of the lives of queer youth?"
QUICKDRAW was created as a project to start our careers within the Game Development Industry. We decided we wanted to create a game that was in scope for current college students but still brought new ideas to the table that any type of player could pick up and enjoy with a friend. Inspired by the NES/Arcade era of gaming, QUICKDRAW was created with the limitations of this era at the forefront of development. Aiming to deliver an authentic experience through and through.
Models predict that the Arctic will experience more rainfall as a result of anthropogenic climate change. Increased Arctic rainfall accelerates ice sheet loss and promotes the expansion of methane-producing wetlands, amplifying greenhouse gas concentrations. We present a plant wax δ2H record that reflects the isotopic composition of summer precipitation at Lake CF8 in the Canadian Arctic to assess the response of precipitation to enhanced warmth, with emphasis on the Last Interglacial (LIG; 129,000-116,000 years ago), which was warmer than the present, and thus a potential analogue to future conditions. In times warmer than the present, more evaporation occurs over an ice-free Baffin Bay, and expanded vegetation cover promotes increased evapotranspiration, resulting in more local moisture transport to Lake CF8. This record is one of the longest terrestrial climate records from the Canadian Arctic, and sheds light on the mechanisms that drive increased precipitation as the Arctic warms.
Determining the conditions under which black shales form within ancient epeiric seas has long been debated. Recent interdisciplinary approaches to such shale sequences have shown that the paleoenvironmental conditions are highly complex and may vary between sequences and location within the same epeiric sea. Samples retrieved from several sedimentary deposits across the Laurussian continent were macerated for microfossil analysis. Sample sets from Middle to Late Devonian localities in Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and New York yielded several different assemblages of oogonia; known extant brackish to freshwater algae. Non-metric multidimensional scaling of data derived from the identification of oogonia within sample sets suggests that there are paleoenvironmental conditions within the Devonian that are previously unrecognized and/or reported within some of these basinal deposits. Herein we present the first multi-basin investigation of charophyte-associated microfossils (e.g., oogonia, antheridia, stipules) in Laurussian deposits and their implications.
My project is centered around the Women's Political Council of Montgomery, Alabama and their contributions to the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s. Historians often cover the Civil Rights movement predominately through the life work of African American men, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The Women's Political Council of Montgomery challenged this ideology, as this organization of African American women remained vital to the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956. The material that I focus on identifies experiences that are unique to black women in the 1950s, as they dealt with gender, class, and race based discrimination. My project traces how the powerful black women of the Women's Political Council of Montgomery came to influence societal change and orchestrate the Montgomery Bus Boycott. These women sacrificed personal glory and media coverage to ensure the longevity and success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott movement.
A historical analysis of Alexander Graham Bell and the practice of oralism in North America. Oralism seeks to minimize the use of sign language in Deaf education and instead focuses on articulation and lip reading. Looking from the late nineteenth century throughout the twentieth century, studying how oralism has effected generations of Deaf people, most chiefly through language deprivation. Deaf education was dominated by oralism for nearly one hundred years, having lasting impacts on the Deaf community still felt today.
Consensus is an important dynamical process for modeling group decision making in social networks and designing decentralized machine learning algorithms; however, existing theory mostly focuses on models that are limited to pairwise interactions in graphs. Here, we develop a model for consensus dynamics over simplicial complexes. We assign dynamical states to edges, as opposed to nodes, and allow them to interact through both higher- and lower-order interactions. For example, two edges can be connected at a node, or they can be two sides of a triangle. We encode these two types of interaction in a Hodge Laplacian matrix that we generalize by introducing a balancing parameter that tunes the relative influence of higher- and lower-order interactions. Our new theory reveals that homology plays a vital role for consensus over simplicial complexes and that the strengths of higher- and lower-order interactions can be optimally balanced to maximally accelerate convergence.
Yanyan Li & Ziliang Wang
Collaboration with Marie Saitou at Norwegian University of Life Sciences. We collected the data of gene expression amount called the transcripts per kilobase million values from 56200 genes and 30 human organs from the GTEx portal database. For each gene, we calculated the co-expression between each pair of organs as the Pearson correlation coefficient based on the samples that were common to the two organs. The co-expression network constructed in this manner may heavily depend on genes. To quantify the difference across the genes in terms of the structure of the organ-to organ co-expression network, we applied a principal component analysis to the 56200 networks, where we vectorized the co-expression correlation matrix to define the feature vector for each gene. In the space spanned by the first two principal components, we observe that there are some outlier genes which may be key genes that have specific biological functions or evolutionary implications.
FRI3ND is a prototype project that seeks to leverage modern notions of intra- activity and queer media in conversation with modern virtual-agent and human-computer interaction. The project is designed in a text adventure format in which users/players engage in dialogue with virtual-agents that diverge from the quintessential subservience of anthropocentric whims. The agents gain their divergence through reliance on input from the user/player and continual dialogue which is stems from GPT-3 AI. Model. In this fashion, the agents and humans engage in a game of self-assertion that is unique to each iteration of the project.
Mohammed Azman, Huang Chen & Alexander Gabrielsen
What is poverty? Is it a classification? Does it mean that someone who is in poverty does not have enough food or money to survive? Or does it mean that people who are in poverty cannot afford things of luxury such as entertainment devices or being able to buy what they want? According to the United Nations, being in poverty means that you meet or almost meet the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. With this definition, our game teaches as well as allows the player to feel the hardships and decisions of someone in poverty. Taking place during the great depression, the players play as a day-to-day factory worker with the objective being to pay off your debt and ultimately purchase a house in which will allow the player to escape renter's hell. Do you have what it takes to strategize how you spend both your money and time?
Although they are related, composing music to be recorded is significantly different in its process when compared with composing for a live performance. In the process of preparing for my Senior Recital, I wanted to take several pieces I had written and recorded previously, and reshape them in a context to suit the ensemble I curated, while also taking the sonic and logistical concerns of the Recital Hall into account. Through the use of mixed media, I outline the many phases of the composition process for three pieces I released in May of 2021 (in an album entitled "Bloom"), while comparing and contrasting these documents with other documents used in the process and execution of (re)arranging these same pieces to be performed for my Senior Recital in March of 2022.
Shiyuan Ge, Bradley Givens, Margaret Morris & Kevin Smith
This work employed a modern machine learning method at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to classify particles in given collision events. We consider the particles from Quantum Chromodynamic (QCD) jets that decay then get detected by the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector to classify. The training method is to train labeled simulator data (RIVET+HEPData) through the classifier, then setting a threshold value for classification and adopting an adversarial neural network to robust against deviations away from the standard model prediction this will force the algorithm to learn how to discriminate against false information thus reduce the uncertainties of classification to get more accurate results. Both the classifier and discriminate generate loss functions which optimize the model. Furthermore, we are interested in the anomaly dedication at the LHC for new physics beyond the standard model (BSM). A separate discriminator has been considered to search for BSM particles by setting different parameters to the threshold value for the discriminator.
In living cells, multivalent signaling proteins form phase-separated condensates to buffer biological noise and compartmentalize cellular biochemistry. However, it is unclear how the regulation of protein phase separation is achieved in living systems. In my work, I am mapping the phase behavior of disordered prion-like proteins in presence of synthetic and biological ligands. Utilizing a recombinant protein expression-purification strategy, I am developing a reconstituted protein-based condensate system to study the intricate thermodynamics of phase separation of disease-relevant human protein systems.
Biomolecular condensates are phase-separated liquid-like subcellular membrane-less organelles with critical biological functions in healthy cells and disease processes. In this work, we will discuss novel technology development to study the network dynamics and phase behavior of biomolecular condensates utilizing video particle-tracking micro-rheology.
Ibraheem Alshareedah & Paul Pullara
Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of multivalent biopolymers is a ubiquitous process in biological systems. The phase behavior of biomolecules is typically encoded by the primary chain sequence and regulated by solvent properties. Solutions of biomolecules have been shown to undergo LLPS either upon cooling (with an upper critical solution temperature, UCST) or upon heating (LCST). However, theoretical frameworks suggest the possibility of phase behaviors with concurrent UCST and LCST transitions. Here, we report that RNA-polyamine mixtures (and mixtures of RNA with short cationic peptides) form a homogenous phase at low temperatures. Increasing the temperature leads to condensate formation, while a further increase in temperature leads to their dissolution. The immiscibility gap is controlled by the charge of the polycation, salt concentration, and mixture composition. These results suggest a complex interplay between desolvation entropy, ion-pairing, and electrostatic interactions in dictating the closed-loop phase behavior of RNA-polycation mixtures.
Proposed future electron positron colliders may be able to provide useful information about the top quark, and they may provide a window into new physics that current colliders cannot. In this study, leading order (LO) and next-to leading order (NLO) calculations of the cross section of an e- e+ > t t~ collision are done for center of mass energies of 500 GeV to 10,000 GeV using the standard model. A proposed Effective Field Theory (EFT), dim6top, that focuses on new physics involving the top quark is used to look for insightful LO deviations from the standard model. These calculations are done using the MadGraph5_aMC@NLO framework, which has implemented the LO, NLO, and EFT components of this study already. These results may provide insight into the physics potential of the proposed future colliders.
This paper takes a number of cross-disciplinary topics, from deindustrialization, social capital, economic development, and institutional theory, and applies them to the context of Buffalo, NY in a post-industrial world. Here, I explored key variables collected from the Federal Reserve and United States Census including median income, median housing cost, vacancy rate, educational attainment, poverty rate, gross domestic product, and unemployment. These are analyzed through the lens of two themes of development adapted from Western New York's regional growth plan adopted in 2006 to determine which, along with certain qualitative factors are deterministic in creating a successful post-industrial region. These are compared to similar variables in a more developed Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, used as the control. I find the vacancy rate, educational attainment, and unemployment to be significant. Results from this study emphasize areas of positive change in the region while highlighting areas in need of further treatment.
Early studies of peace in political science focused on ending and preventing conflict. Though a first-order condition to peace, scholars have exposed numerous ways this absence of conflict is insufficient for quality peace. I focus on how conflicts can cause continuing damage even after they have officially ended. Conflict is often cyclical, but not all conflicts are the same. The organization of rebel groups, their resources, and who they recruit all affect the amount of violence -- especially towards civilians -- committed in a conflict. The economic environment, which is typically destroyed by conflicts, trafficking networks established to fund rebellion, and fragile institutions make post-conflict countries vulnerable to organized crime. With a conflict ended, reintegration must begin, with societal attitudes presenting significant challenges. Using quasi-experimental methods, I examine how illicit economies can cause levels of criminal violence that rival or exceed the levels of violence witnessed during a conflict.
In 1963, Pahnke used the mystical experience questionnaire (MEQ) in his famous 'Good Friday Experiment' to demonstrate that psilocybin could occasion religious and mystical experiences. Years later, Griffiths and colleagues (2006) suggested that these mystical experiences are correlated with positive results in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. However, whether the mystical effects elicited by psychedelic drugs is responsible for their beneficial effects has not been definitively shown. The present study conducted a systematic review and analysis of experiments since 2006 in which psychedelic use, MEQ data, and outcome measures (broadly defined) are reported. It hypothesized that higher MEQ scores would predict greater beneficial outcomes following the psychedelic session. No correlation was found upon conducting the analysis. Implications for the study of mystical experiences and acute subjective psychedelic experiences more generally are discussed, as are experimental designs which would identify causal mechanisms involved in psychedelic sessions and their outcomes.
Chronic tinnitus sufferers experience sleep loss, mental distress, inability to work, and suicidal thoughts/actions. We investigated whether tinnitus from short noise bursts has a later onset and is more reversible than tinnitus from longer noise durations. Laboratory mice were used to measure onset and duration of tinnitus using a two-alternative identification paradigm. Mice were operantly trained to categorize sounds and silence, then housed in isolation for 40 days while 8 hrs/day of 85 dB SPL broadband white noise played. They experienced 16 hrs/day of quiet and were tested for 1 hr/day for 5-7 days/week. Dependent variables included percent of trials correctly categorized before, during, and after noise. We hypothesized that tinnitus in mice continuously exposed to noise for 40 days was more severe than when exposure was 8 hrs/day. Our results showed that tinnitus from 8 hrs/day noise had a similar onset to 23 hrs/day and was equally irreversible.
Substance use-disorder is characterized by the motivation to take drugs and the tendency to relapse after abstinence, as well as numerous neurobehavioral adaptations. These adaptations may be reflected in changes in drug-induced locomotion, which may be related to individual differences in drug self-administration. In rodent models of drug-taking those that use intermittent-Access (IntA) procedures may better reflect patterns of cocaine use in humans compared to Long-Access models (Zimmer et al. 2012). Here, we studied the relationship between locomotor activity and drug intake in heterogeneous stock rats during a cocaine IntA procedure. Further, we sought to determine whether locomotor sensitization to cocaine occurred during repeated cocaine sessions, and whether this effect was driven specifically by changes in intake. We found that, cocaine-induced locomotion and intake increased following intermittent-access to cocaine. However, when correcting locomotion for changes in intake, we instead found a decrease in locomotor activity per infusion taken between sessions.
People with HIV (PWH) are at a greater risk for psychological comorbidities than the general population. Risk increases when PWH engage in behaviors associated with depression, such as tobacco use. Social support plays an important role in depression and tobacco use, but few studies have investigated all three factors. This study explored: (1) whether HIV status is associated with depression, (symptom severity and lifetime diagnosis) and (2) the relationship between social support and depression in smokers with and without HIV. This study utilized baseline data (prior to a quit attempt) from 231 participants (88 HIV+ and 143 HIV-) from an ongoing clinical trial (NCT03169101). Although smokers with HIV had higher odds of a lifetime depression diagnosis (OR=2.47, 95% CI [1.11, 5.46]), there were no group differences in depression symptom severity or social support. Our next step is to study emotional, instrumental, and informational social support among this population.
As mouse ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) have been recorded, researchers have been able to categorize and classify differing spectrotemporal features, which help to build upon the understanding of the possible functions of these vocalizations. Unfortunately, most previous studies have not examined USVs as they develop across time in different strains, limiting the understanding of how USVs change as a function of age. This study aims to examine the differences present in mouse USVs across sex, age, and strain at two different time points. The vocalizations of three male and three female C57/BLB6 mice and two male and two female CBA/CaJ mice were recorded for three minutes per session to examine the differences amongst USVs. I hypothesized that the number of USVs produced would not differ between male and female mice, but that male mice would produce a different proportion of USVs than female mice. Additionally, I hypothesized that C57BL/B6 mice would produce a greater number of USVs and a different proportion of USV types than CBA/CaJ mice. Finally, I hypothesized that young mice would produce a greater number of USVs and a different proportion of USV types compared to older mice. These experiments will provide a greater understanding of mouse communication.
Preventive parenting programs have demonstrated robust, positive impacts on parenting and child behavior. Recently, there has been increased interest in using parenting interventions to target obesity prevention during infancy and early childhood. While some early parenting interventions aimed at obesity prevention have demonstrated short-term success, there is limited evidence of longer-term impacts on excess weight gain. This study aimed to systematically review preventive parenting programs for parents of children 0-5 years, which examined long-term impacts on parenting but were not designed to target obesity. Out of 1,288 articles identified, 9 out of 12 studies that met inclusion criteria demonstrated a positive impact on parenting ≥1 year post-intervention. Most studies with sustained impacts on parenting were implemented in a group setting when children were >2 years. Results suggest group-based programs for parents of toddlers may be a promising approach to achieving longer-term impacts of preventive parenting interventions on early obesity risk.
Sam Booker & Tracey Martin
The ability to decide which foods are safe for consumption is critical for survival. Typically, toxic foods are perceived as bitter alerting the consumer that continued ingestion should be avoided, yet bitter taste is not a reliable indicator of toxicity as it is also found in nutritionally important foods (Barrant-Fornell & Drewnowski, 2002). It is known that animals can increase consumption of familiar, safe, bitter compounds in the face of nutrient deficit through changes in salivary proteins (SPs) and learning mechanisms (Martin et al., 2017; Martin, Nikonova, et al., 2019). The study focuses on identifying if diet induced changes in SP expression which increase the animal's tolerance and preference of safe bitter substances, will increase preference to similar compound substances which are toxic. Using a brief-access licking test we recorded responses to varied concentrations of bitter compounds quinine, caffeine, and denatonium before and after SPs were manipulated. Half the animals were maintained on a control diet for the entirety of the experiment (n=5) to control for time and experience, while the experimental group (n=5), was given a quinine diet between lick tests. Results indicate that SP upregulation by the quinine diet showed a trend for increased acceptance measures for quinine (p=0.06), and increased acceptance measures for the chemically distinct but non-toxic bitter stimulus denatonium (p=0.05) but did not alter acceptance measures for the chemically similar but toxic compound caffeine (p=0.6).
Researchers have identified Spanish-speaking immigrants in the United States as one of several vulnerable populations who face especially high barriers when seeking care and treatment (Luque, Soulen et al. 2018). This study identifies potential barriers to access and understand immigrants' strategies for surmounting these barriers through interviewing individuals about their interactions with the healthcare systems in Buffalo and Erie County. This study assesses the perceptions of and experiences with healthcare access for Spanish-speaking immigrants living in Erie County and the city of Buffalo in New York State, with a specific focus on those of Dominican and Colombian origins. Typical questions asked while conducting the study focused on respondents' access to health insurance, their approximate out-of-pocket costs, their willingness to visit health clinics for various types of ailments, their language preferences for interactions with healthcare providers, their physical proximity to health clinics, and their options for receiving treatment (walk-in or appointment).
Catalonia is an autonomous region in northeastern Spain with its own heritage and language. The Spanish government mandates the usage of Spanish here while the regional Catalonian government enforces the use of Catalan, thus creating a bilingual society. Immigrants arriving to this region must cope with the unexpected presence of the prestige language of Catalan while also navigating all the usual challenges of immigration. This bilingual reality which is formalized through governmental linguistic policies that support its own minority language makes Catalonia a unique environment to examine the experiences of other minority language speakers. This poster explores how this linguistic situation affects non-Spanish speaking immigrants' views of and ability to maintain their heritage language. Much can be lost if immigrants abandon their home language such as familial connections, familial hierarchy, social and economic capital, as well as connection with one's culture.
Fundamental Cause Theory (FCT) predicts that higher socioeconomic status (SES) leads to better health outcomes, through mechanisms including health behaviors. Although evidence support FCT has been well documented in Western countries, relatively few studies focus on health disparities in China. Using data on adults age 45+ from the nationally-representative 2015 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, we examined socioeconomic gradients (measured via education and wealth) in multiple health outcomes (self-rated health, disease count, and several common chronic conditions), behavioral risk factors (smoking, high-frequency drinking, and overweight). To assess whether health behavior mediate the SES-health association, we use the Karlson Holm and Breen (KHB) mediation analysis method. Our findings simultaneously support and challenge FCT. Despite that SES predicts higher self-rated health and lower risk of arthritis, neither education nor wealth has beneficial effects on multiple health outcomes and health behaviors. Results of mediation analyses show both suppression and mediation effects.
Sara DiPasquale & Julia Schoonover
In 2021 alone there were 1.8 million Americans living in over 2,000 prisons. With such a large influence it is important to understand the functions, and notably, the failures, of these carceral institutions (Kang-Brown Et al. 2021; Loeffler and Nagin 2022). Globally, most criminal justice systems function with the purpose of seeking justice, but we see great variety in how justice is defined and how the objectives and goals of these systems are met. If we examine all major types of prisons, we find that many fall on a continuum between punitive and restorative systems (Horowitz et al. 2021; Hyatt et al. 2021; Bottoms 2003). How American corrections officers and, more importantly, leaders, support and encourage restorative initiatives helps us understand the potential successes as well as institutional limitations of moving away from retributive initiatives.While there have been movements to improve conditions of incarceration in the US (Gaes 2008, Edwards 2021), the Scandinavian model provides an alternative, and more restorative, approach for how to respond to people who break the law - both while they are incarcerated as well as after their release.
Collaborative practice continues to guide the creative process through its ability for diverse perspectives to make meaningful and beautiful shows for the audiences. The Zodiaque Dance Company is an amazing example of how collaboration in art leads to breath taking performance. As the Lighting Designer for the Zodiaque Dance Company's 47th Spring Concert, I engaged in this collaborative practice throughout my design process. This well-crafted design was developed through cross-functional collaborations between the nine unique choreographers and myself. This research process informed my final designs which empowered, spotlighted, and supported the dancers throughout their performance. The experience taught me the importance of collaboration while building a consistent design across the entire show. As the 47th Zodiaque Spring Concert weekend ended with over five hundred audience members over a three-day run, I was able to clearly see why collaborative practice in arts is one of its most powerful assets.
Opia is a dance piece about how mental health affects interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Systems of support play a large role in how we interact with one another and I wanted to explore this concept through movement. This process involved physical exploration using improvisation to create a movement vocabulary that would present the feelings and ideas I wanted to showcase. I encouraged the dancers in this piece to bring their own personal experiences to their dancing, to further explore relationships between the dancers. Another key part of this process involved creating lighting and sound elements that would support the dance's message. I wanted to incorporate musical elements that would influence audiences interpretation, so I chose an excerpt I believed would set the mood from the beginning. The culmination of these elements helped bring this project to its completion to share the message I wanted to convey.
Maya Calvo, Mia Gionis & Melanie Kaisen
The exploration of vernacular movement in musical theater dance has shaped the style as we know it today. We were fortunate to research this vernacular movement during a summer program that supported our academic research during the school year. As teaching assistants for Jeanne Fornarola, we were able to understand this vernacular movement in the context of a classroom setting. The research examines choreographic works from influential Broadway choreographers such as Bob Fosse, Andy Blankenbuehler, and Sonya Tayeh. The repertoire chosen incorporates vernacular movement, or dance steps that appeared in every culture of the time and how it was incorporated onto the Broadway Stage. We looked at choreography as embodied research and a form storytelling, as we moved through and explored various techniques, styles, and cultures in each piece of choreography.
In today's society, high-speed internet access is crucial in connecting to the outside world. In order to access the world's finest resources and education software, high-speed internet access is critical. However, in third-world countries, this luxury is often hard to achieve. Many countries are in an impoverished state and don't have access to the proper essentials in order to facilitate high-speed internet access or in some desired conditions no internet access at all. This proposal will generate a self-sustaining business model to construct an internet cafe for the HRCO center in Tanzania. Consumers will have access to high-speed internet resources while consuming their favorite food and beverages. Providing different paths for revenue streaming products and cost expenditures will fill and sustain ELNs partner Stephen's mission.
Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) allow users to communicate with the Internet of Things (IoT) device embedded system. During this research, we analyze PostProcess Technologies' fleet of additive manufacturing support-removal machines. The machines are equipped with Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Operating System and Beckhoff's embedded PC that provides a touch-screen display. The communication between the HMI and embedded system is done by using the MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) messaging protocol. Real-time information such as sensor data and water pressure control configurations are transmitted through MQTT. For this research, we built upon the existing HMI, which included the addition of licensing protection, automatic machine discovery, and web-server endpoint protection.
Primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) is an autoimmune disease. The disease etiology is poorly understood and there is a critical need to identify the causes of pSS to improve treatments. B cell abnormalities are well documented in pSS, and therapies that target these cells may have therapeutic utility. Mature B cells express a receptor, CD180, that promotes B cell proliferation and protects against apoptosis. Preliminary work shows CD180-deficient B cells are increased in pSS patients. Additionally, ligation of Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) reduces CD180 expression in healthy mice, although this has not been studied in the context of pSS. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether B cell CD180 levels differ between pSS mice and controls, and to determine if TLR7 agonism diminishes CD180 expression by B cells in pSS. We determined that CD180 is expressed in pSS mice and TLR7 agonism alters CD180 expression in B cells.
Cameron Kirkwood & Victoria Maglaras
No validated method currently exists to quantify alveolar bone. The objective of this study was to develop a standardized histomorphometric methodology for assessing alveolar trabecular bone by micro-computed-tomography (µCT) and determine its reproducibility through inter-rater reliability comparisons.
Understanding anatomy of maxillary teeth and bone permitted identification of distinguishable anatomic landmarks, including the cemento-enamel junction (CEJ) and the periodontal ligament (PDL). The posterior (molar region) of 70 rat maxillas were scanned using Scanco Medical µCT 100 scanner (Brüttisellen, Switzerland) at a 16µm resolution. Scans were imported into the Analyze Pro 1.0 (Overland Park, KS) software for analysis. Each sample was reoriented/cropped, to ensure total inclusion of tooth and PDL structures, according to recognizable anatomical landmarks including the CEJ of the second molar and the PDL spaces surrounding molar roots. The targeted Bone Microarchitecture Analysis (BMA) region of interest was a cylinder (height = 50 slices = 0.8mm, radius = 15 slices = 0.24mm) located between the divergent roots of the second molar, a defined distance from the CEJ and distal root PDL spaces. Three independent users performed BMA analysis and inter-rater reliability was determined by a kappa statistic. The trabecular thickness and intra-trabecular space volumes were assessed for variance.
The kappa values for inter-rater reliability were calculated for each X, Y, and Z cylindrical coordinates. The comparisons between the three users revealed an almost perfect level of agreement (above 0.90); 0.928. 0.906, and 0.993 for X, Y, and Z, respectively. The results obtained in the BMA analyses, for each sample, were compared and the variances observed ranged from 0.0 to 0.0049.
Obtaining kappa values above 0.90 for all parameters proves this method to be reproducible and reliable. These data are promising in the development of a valid methodology for the analysis of rat maxilla bone morphology.
This study investigates the feasibility of using three-dimensional (3D) prototyped models as an educational teaching aid for Endodontic access at a preclinical level. 3D models simulating two types of Endodontic access cavities were designed and prototyped. Microcomputed tomographic scans of a human extracted maxillary central incisor were imported into Amira software and 3D models were printed. Fifty students enrolled in the Preclinical Endodontics course who voluntarily participated were randomly assigned to two groups with different viewing sessions. A questionnaire was given and data were statistically analyzed. Results showed no significant differences were observed between the groups (p >.05). The 3D models were considered realistic. Most of respondents said that the models met their expectations (82.4%) and should be incorporated in more classes (88.2%). Results of this pilot study suggest that 3D printed models have the potential to improve learning experience in Endodontics at a predoctoral level.
Sleep bruxism (SB) is a sleep-related movement disorder with a poorly understood prevalence, etiology, and management in pediatric populations. Automated mandibular movement (AMM) monitoring has shown promising results as an accurate method to characterizing SB. The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between parental reports and AMM monitoring to assess SB in children and adolescents. This cross-sectional pilot study included growing patients presenting for orthodontic treatment. Participants and their guardian completed a global questionnaire regarding the child's sleep and SB was determined by an AMM monitoring device. 24 orthodontic patients were included in this pilot study. The prevalence of SB was 50% using AMM and 41% when assessed using questionnaires. There was a weak but non-significant association between the two (r= 0.04, P>0.05). Parental reports underestimated the prevalence of SB. Results from AMM devices can be used in the future to better understand SB in pediatric populations.
Despite troubling evidence that homogenous ability grouping, often referred to as tracking has a detrimental effect on students placed on lower academic tracks, this approach is widely practiced throughout the United States and has a pronounced effect on Black, Latinx and economically disadvantaged students. A meta-analysis of eleven ability grouping studies was conducted to determine 1. If ability grouping influences academic achievement and, 2. if effect size related to the covariate, year based on timing or application of national education policies and programs between 1982-1996? The analysis concluded that ability grouping does not improve student achievement and has a standardized difference in means of -0.032 with a statistically insignificant p-value. The mean effect size is negligible, less than .20. Furthermore, when adding the covariate to the model, the results revealed year is not related to effect size. In conclusion, this study suggests that there is strong evidence that ability grouping does not improve student achievement and adding year as a covariate is not related to the effect size.
Trauma has a direct effect on an individual's physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Trauma has been known to improve through practices such as yoga and mindfulness. In Rwanda, effects of trauma can be associated with a history of colonization, civil war, genocide, natural disaster, and present day traumatizing events. This study explores the effects of participation in Trauma-Informed Mind-Body Wellbeing Program on trauma and wellbeing among participants compared to controls in Rwanda. Overall, results indicate that compared to controls, those who participated in the program showed significantly decreased symptoms of traumatic stress and increased wellbeing. Follow-up data indicated that continued participation in yoga maintained significant increases in self-efficacy, self-regulation, mindful self-care and a belief in one's personal growth with yoga participants maintained continued reductions in distress even 5-6 months after the yoga-based program ended. Results suggest that trauma-informed, yoga-based programs may be helpful in the remediation of trauma symptoms and the promotion of wellbeing in Rwanda.
COVID-19 has strongly impacted all aspects of people's daily life everywhere in the world since 2019. Schools around the world have to transition to online learning to accommodate the social distancing and disinfection requirements. The current study is aiming to explore influencing factors of students' academic performance in tertiary education during the pandemic, specifically from the perspectives of students and instructors. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis was applied to analyze the data collected from students and instructors who participated in online instruction in a large public university in New York State. The results of this study showed that students' and instructors' perspectives on course structure, communication, learning outcome, attendance, and instructional effectiveness had significant associations with students' GPA. It is also found that instructors' previous experience in online education has an influence on their students' perspective, but not on their own perspective of online learning.
A heavy academic burden often contributes to East Asian adolescents' decreasing sense of well-being. A conjoined success in their well-being and academic achievement is unlikely if East Asian adolescents' high achievement comes at a cost to their well-being. This raises the question of whether adolescents are at risk for a conjoined failure rather than a conjoined success at well-being and achievement. This study uses latent profile analysis to identify subgroups of adolescents in East Asian societies based on multidimensional well-being indicators. The heterogeneity of adolescent well-being in East Asia was evident, suggesting that East Asian societies should be viewed individually instead of collectively as a whole group. The analysis of the association between profiles and achievement suggests a trade-off between well-being and achievement, as members of profiles with high levels of well-being do not always outperform their peers. Adolescents who have conjoined failure in achievement and well-being are detected. These struggling adolescents come mainly from socioeconomically disadvantaged families. Educators and psychologists need to pay attention to these adolescents, as they suffer from a triple disadvantage: first, as unhappy adolescents, second, as low achievers, and third, as socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents.
Given the hierarchal ordering of US schooling and the historical marginalization of individuals with (dis)abilities, this dissertation study examines how and to what extent structural inequalities, institutional arrangements and the structural location of parents influence placement processes and educational opportunities for students with (dis)abilities across three public elementary schools with distinct typologies - suburban advantaged, suburban mixed, and urban open (Lee et. al, 2017). This study is an ethnographic investigation that combines 57 semi-structured, in-depth interviews, nearly 150 hours of participant observation, and 300+ documents to answer the research questions. Findings indicate the execution and outcomes of the process of identifying and servicing (dis)ability across study sites construct divergent realities of (dis)ability related to the (in)tangible resources, geographic location, staffing, size, normative performance benchmarks and expectations, and subsequent ideologies inherent to the typology of each school site, as well as the positioning and structural locations of parents and families.
Ba Zan Lin
The refugee youth's involvement in civic engagement and leadership means an access to other opportunities in life, such as social recognition, psychosocial well-being, rewarding relationships and connections, exposure to professional employment, and ability to advocate for oneself and for his/her community (Flanagan and Levine, 2010; Flanagan and Bundick, 2011). Likewise, student civic engagement brings significant social, economic, and civic benefits not only to refugee community, but also to the mainstream society as a whole (Jensen, 2008). By applying ethnographic lens, this study examines aspirations, influences and experiences of Myanmar refugee students who are currently active in their communities in the United States. Through disappointments and frustrations of community disunity, unchangeable egos of leaders and serious mistrust among ethnic groups, Myanmar students see the need for unity, collaboration, mutual respect and forgiveness. As such, their civic engagement aspirations and leadership activities are significantly shaped by their collective Myanmar identity and the sense of unity that they acquired through their lived experiences while they were in Myanmar and after resettled in the United States. Myanmar refugee students found a rallying point at reinforced national identity, and the need of unity within Myanmar community and among different refugee ethnic groups from Myanmar. Their narratives and reflections subtly show that unified identity as Myanmar student leaders and community unifiers-reinforced by their community attachments and social ties-is the major influence that empowers them to actively participate in the civic engagement activities in the United States.
Specific to gendered organizations and the superintendency, this study focused on the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services of New York State (BOCES). As the intent of the study was to study women in the superintendency, and why they stayed, BOCES, is an organization that is representative across New York State. Guided by Joan Acker's (1990) original gendering organizational theory, the purpose of this study is to understand how various career and personal supports affect current female superintendents with the intent of helping to ameliorate longstanding gendered disproportionality for women in this profession. In doing so, I aim to offer new understanding regarding why women stay in the superintendency, while also bringing thoughtful attention and appreciation to how these women succeed in a male dominated field.
This project explores the question: What is the experience of an early childhood teacher-researcher as she intentionally uses interactive read-alouds to promote social justice and to encourage critical consciousness in her preschool classroom? Over the course of three phases, the teacher engaged the children in 12 books. Findings describe the personal and professional evolution of the teacher-researcher as social justice became her "way of being." As she studied and reflected on issues of oppression and equity, and considered her own classroom read-alouds, she shifted her approach from centering social emotional learning to social justice. This shift was marked by changes in book selection and presentation and by two key turning points. Findings also detail the roles the teacher adopted as she explored books with her students and illustrate how these roles supported and prompted social justice.
During cancer development, tumor cells gain capabilities to escape from immune systems. Among many immune evasion mechanisms, PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint pathway is found to be an effective therapeutic target. Currently immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as pembrolizumab and nivolumab have been developed to block PD-1/PD-L1 interaction and reestablish immune anti-tumor activity. However, only a small portion of patients responds to immune checkpoint inhibitors. To overcome this challenge, we have developed liposome nanoparticles containing therapeutic miR-34a to downregulate PD-L1 expression as a new cancer immunotherapy. Liposome nanoparticles have an advantage against the traditional drug delivery and therapy methods because these nanoparticles are biocompatible and can be modified to target tumor sites, and thus improves miR-34a accumulation in tumors. Experimentation determined liposomes were effective carriers in delivery miR-34a to the tumor site to suppress PD-L1 gene expression.
Sanjana Ghosh, Dushyant Jahagirdar, Dandan Luo & Boyang Sun
Irinotecan (IRI) liposomes have been approved recently to treat advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer. Motivated by its recent approval, a similar PEGylated liposomal composition with Sucrosulfate was developed that includes a low mole fraction (1 mol. %) of porphyrin-phospholipid (PoP), a photosensitizer that gets stably incorporated into liposomes that enables light-triggered IRI release upon irradiation. IRI-loaded PoP liposomes loaded by entrapping agent ammonium sucrosulfate (ASOS) were more stable in serum compared to liposomes loaded by conventional ammonium sulfate. IRI-PoP liposomes with no irradiation released less than 5% IRI during 8 hours of incubation in bovine serum at 37 °C, but released over 90% of the drug within minutes of exposure to red light (665 nm) irradiation. Single treatment with 15 mg/kg IRI-PoP liposomes and 250 J/cm2 light treatment led to tumor eradication in mice bearing either MIA PaCa-2 tumors or low-passage patient-derived tumor xenografts that recapitulate characteristics of the clinical disease whereas similar monotherapies of IRI or photodynamic therapy were found ineffective in reducing tumor growth.
In this theoretical work bridged Pd2Ox active sites on an SSZ-13 zeolite are investigated for the feasibility of methane oxidation. An in-depth reaction mechanism was derived using density functional theory (DFT) and simulated with a microkinetic model. For |PdO2Pd| and |PdOPd|, which are bridge active sites within the zeolite framework, it was found that at 350 °C, the rate limiting step is water formation and not methane activation, which is usually assumed to be the rate limiting step on similar active sites. Partial oxidation of methane to methanol was also investigated and was found to introduce large activation barriers that are likely too large to surpass.
Vinh Buo & Elizabeth Haddad
Enhancing polymer chain rigidity is one of the leading strategies to improve membrane size sieving ability. Here, we modified polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) with rigid phenyl groups and investigated its gas separation performance. Specifically, different weight percentages of polyphenylmethylsiloxane (PPMS) were introduced into PDMS sol, and co-hydrosilylation was carried out to yield PDMS-co-PPMS. The successful incorporation of the phenyl group and polymer cross-linking was confirmed by FTIR and gel-content, respectively. Despite the bulkier phenyl-pedant group, an increase in PPMS content decreases the membrane fractional free volume, and thus decreases H2, CO2, N2, and CH4 permeability by 6, 5, 9, and 11 folds, from pristine PDMS to 75 wt% PPMS membrane at 35oC, respectively. On the other hand, the CO2/N2 selectivity increased from 9.5 for pristine PDMS to 17 for 75wt% PPMS membrane at 35oC. Future work is focused on preparing PDMS-co-PPMS thin-film composite membranes for the study of the influence of polysiloxane chemistry on organosilica membranes derived from oxygen plasma treatment.
Skeletal muscle comprises approximately 40% of total body mass and plays essential physiologic functions such as enabling movement and regulating metabolism. Aging is accompanied by progressive muscle atrophy with reduction in muscle mass and strength. Age-related muscle loss is a major medical problem facing the elderly and correlates with cranial fractures, type II diabetes, and cardiac insufficiency. As of 2018, 125 million people around the world were 80 years of age or older. By 2050, experts expect that number to grow to 0.5 billion. This is a major issue because with an aging population comes an increasing need for healthcare, long-term care, and social services to support older adults as they age. To address this emergency, we conducted a study that improved muscle health and increased muscle strength during aging.
Lakes are susceptible to eutrophication and algal growth, due to receiving nutrients from their watershed. Phosphorus (P) is the limiting nutrient for algae growth in freshwater. We assess four pairs of competing hypotheses for P retention in lakes and evaluate 39 static models in three types, namely mechanistic, semi-mechanistic, and strictly-empirical models. Mechanistic models are solely based on the physical representation of lakes; hence, we use their pairwise comparison to assess the superiority of the hypotheses. Semi-mechanistic models take their form from mechanistic models but their unknown parameter is statistically acquired, and strictly-empirical models are statistically derived. We gather a large database (n=738) of lakes from North America and Europe to assess the hypotheses and models. The findings not only shed light on the understanding of P retention in lakes but also can be useful for the assessment of data-limited lakes and large-scale hydrological models to simulate the P cycle.
Valton Barnes & Ashley Perez
Despite effort to assimilate renewable energy into the current electrical grid, problems with variability in energy output/availability limits large scale implementation. Energy storage must be addressed for unpredictable technologies, including solar and wind power, with associated costs considered. This research proposes a battery that uses potential energy of a compressible spring to capture curtailed solar electricity. Initial designs explore electricity diversion through an electric motor and gear system that compresses a high strength spring to store energy for later use. Using recycled aluminum as the primary spring material rather than steel, the battery system is expected to be cost effective and efficient. In addition to design studies, cost analyses will consider electricity generation, material selection, and efficiency to address the proposed renewable energy storage technology. The objective of this research is to measure both theoretically and experimentally the potential for energy storage in springs.
This project introduces a new modular shear wall system designed for replaceability and resilience after extreme loading as well as architectural appeal. The walls are called tessellated structural-architectural (TeSA) walls because of interlocking tiles (modules) with repetitive shapes (tessellations) and are intended to satisfy both structural and architectural demands. In TeSA systems, tile discontinuities may be able to contain damage within discrete units. This can facilitate quicker structural repair and reoccupation, and reduction of ensuing financial losses from service interruptions. This study focuses on documenting and quantifying damage in TeSA walls with interlocking tiles based on laboratory tests performed on walls, and finite element (FE) modeling. The considered TeSA walls consist of reinforced concrete tiles and have self-centering post-tensioning. The force-drift behavior and ensuing damage thereof are studied, damage probability at different drifts is estimated and a framework for generating fragility functions for performance evaluation of TeSA walls is proposed.
The word association board game Codenames asks players to associate two or more disparate words with one clue-word. It's relatively straightforward to connect "apple" and "banana" with the clue "fruits", but it may take a more seasoned player to connect "lantern", "grass" and "thumb" with "green". Using tools from natural language processing, how can we create an algorithm that performs this task well? In order to answer this question, I explored collocations as a starting point for potential clues, ranked them based on frequency and mutual information, and used word embeddings as a method to avoid conflicting clues. Further steps may include encoding turn-based decisions into the algorithm.
The spread of misinformation whether in the form of a full-fledged news article or just a small tweet has raised a significant concern in various domains for causing real threats in many aspects, e.g., politics, finance, societal, and others. According to Weibo's 2020 annual report 76,107 news content shared in Weibo social media platform were identified as false by the authority all year round. As an emerging field of research, evaluating misinformation has attracted attention of researchers across multiple disciplines (Social Science, Communication, Journalism, Computer Science). A trickier yet prevalent recent trend to mislead audiences is the use of unaltered images (or speech) in a new but false or misleading context, which are easy for the attackers to adopt but difficult to identify by using existing prediction algorithms. While the problem is not just about making a binary decision on its truthfulness, but also about evaluating the content from the fine-grained perspectives of categories like False Connection, Misleading Information, and False Context. Data availability and evolving data characteristics aggravates the complexity further. In this project we aim to develop a multi-modal self-supervised learning architecture to proactively estimate the veracity of a news content in a limited data environment. Toward obtaining a more holistic and context aware representation we leverage a common-sense knowledge graph that makes the learned descriptor more discriminate and thus facilitates a more accurate decision making with an enhanced explainability feature. We test performance on the several publicly available large-scale dataset. While the initial results on a very recent, large-scale NewsCLIPpings dataset shows significant promise, we aim to develop a comprehensive explainability evaluation protocol as well as run more extensive experiments and ablation study on another recently released multimodal news consistency dataset.
Few-shot learning (FSL) is the process of rapid generalization from abundant base samples to inadequate novel samples. Despite extensive research in recent years, FSL is still not yet able to generate satisfactory solutions for a wide range of real-world applications. To confront this challenge, we study the FSL problem from a geometric point of view in this paper. Noticing that the widely embraced ProtoNet model is essentially a Voronoi Diagram (VD) in the feature space. We retrofit it by making use of a recent advance in computational geometry called Cluster-induced Voronoi Diagram (CIVD). Starting from nearest neighbor model, CIVD gradually incorporates cluster-to-point and cluster-to-cluster relationships for space subdivision, to improve the accuracy and robustness at multiple stages of FSL. CIVD provides a mathematically elegant and geometrically interpretable framework that compensates for extreme data insufficiency, prevents overfitting, and allows for fast geometric ensemble for thousands of individual VD.
Snow data starting from 1930 till 2020 was taken from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) site at Buffalo Airport, and the ice data which was the ERA5 reanalysis product from ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasting) were studied to determine the role of Lake Erie ice-cover on snowfall in Buffalo. Western New York, especially Buffalo gets heavy snow each year, often characterized by lake effect snowfall. Data cleaning followed by Data preprocessing was done on both these datasets. Data Visualization gave some interesting maps and graphs. Both the data sets were combined under Pandas dataframe. Correlation was done between the ice cover of the great lakes and snowfall, snow-depth accumulation using the Buffalo Niagara airport dataset. The total amount of snowfall, sea-ice concentration, and the area of ground cover in each of these 90 years was determined, and monthly trends over the years were studied. Total snowfall and the time of the year were strongly correlated. Snow depth and sea-ice concentration in December and January were two to five times more strongly correlated. This behavior could be directly attributed to the ice cover of Lake Erie.
Sabarish Krishna Moorthy
Flying vehicles, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Personalized Aerial Vehicles (PAVs), have been envisioned as a key "tool" that can enable a wide variety of new applications. While flying vehicles can certainly enable a broad range of new applications, there are several challenges to address. Controlling the network behavior and flight operations in a dynamic environment requires a deep understanding of the interactions between the motion and networking functionalities at all layers of the protocol stack. To design, prototype and verify new network control algorithms, engineers are required to grapple simultaneously with mathematical modeling of the network control problems, distributed network control and optimization, network operations at or across different layers of the protocol stack, as well as their implementation on software radio platforms. This process is complex, tedious, and error-prone. To address these challenges, I propose a novel zero-touch control system called OSWireless for networked flying vehicles.
Point-of-care and at-home testing are powerful tools in guiding treatment and monitoring health conditions. Optical sensing technique, which relies on shining light into a nanoscale space (i.e. sensing hot spots) and detecting the light signal changes caused by the interaction with molecules in hot spots, is one of the major thrusts that power the expansion of the applications of point-of-care testing. However, catching molecules into nanoscale hot spots is up to chance with the existing technologies, which severely limits the sensing performance. In our work, we demonstrated a novel optical sensor structure which employs liquid gallium to form nanoscale cavities which function as the sensing hot spots. This unconventional device architecture not only allows for simple and cost-effective device fabrication, but also effectively overcomes the bottleneck of molecules catching. We experimentally achieved about 10% reflection change for detecting 2.4 nm thick monolayer 1-octadecanethiol film, which corresponds to the state-of-the-art sensitivity.
We address a problem of determining an optimal scheduling policy for a simple communication system comprising a single fading channel and a single transmitter-receiver pair. Here, we formulate the scheduling problem as a discrete-time finite-state Markov Decision Process (MDP) and determine the optimal policy using Value Iteration. Here, the MDP's state-space represents the transmitter's buffer and channel states, its action-space represents the number of packet transmissions, and the goal is to minimize a weighted cost. The buffer state is the number of packets in the buffer at a given time step, the channel state is the channel quality, and both are assumed to evolve over time as Markov chains. Here, the cost represents a weighted sum of transmission power and delay, where one can prioritize either of the two to optimize the system. Using Value Iteration, a policy is yielded that determines the optimal action for any given state.
Despite the increasing need for cellular networks with dependable signal quality, few options for simulating cellular interference are available. In response, we developed a Python program to simulate Long Term Evolution (LTE) cellular networks and to study the effects of stochastic geometry models on interference and channel quality in a two-dimensional space. The program is highly configurable, and it has preset geometry models for positioning base stations or users, including a hexagonal grid, rectangular grid, and Poisson point process (PPP). The program also has multiple functions for visualizing network performance indexes, such as Signal to Noise and Interference Ratio (SINR) and Channel Quality Indicator (CQI). It can be instrumental for critical network design operations, such as determining base station configurations that limit interference in dense areas.
James Butron, Jay Pierce, Jack Zheng & Henriette Zombori
Data analysis was preformed to determine a link between increased flow rates, and precipitation, land development, and forest/ agriculture coverage. This was done using data from the United States Geographical Services (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US census, and streamstats watershed data. The data was processed using Microsoft Excel and ArcGIS. The Lake Erie tributaries have experiencing greater flows due to increased precipitation and development. This has resulted in erosion, more frequent flooding, water quality degradation, and habitat loss, both along the tributaries and within Lake Erie.
Urmi Golder, Abida Islam & Brian Le
The goal of Beds for Buffalo is to produce 200 twin-sized beds for children in need by this spring in an efficient manner. Our goal consists of providing engineering recommendations and making design changes to optimize the manufacturing process as well as ease the bed-building process for the volunteers. Specific problems include improving the structure of the bed itself even further, modifying the design so its transportation would be less troublesome, and easing the assembly visualization process for the volunteers. Our deliverables include making a CAD-model animation video showing the assembly process, compiling a detailed bed building guide highlighting all the steps, as well as reports with our recommendations for the design changes.
Hannah Connolly, Annie Fan, Adrian Martinez & Rajat Wagh
The purpose of this project is to create two feasibility studies on the use of green hydrogen as a fuel source at the University at Buffalo's North Campus. The first study analyzes the feasibility of hydrogen generation from the existing solar panels on North Campus. To produce hydrogen, a fuel cell will be used to harvest the electricity and convert it to hydrogen gas through electrolysis. The second study analyzes the ratio at which hydrogen and natural gas can be blending blended into the existing pipelines. In our poster, we will present findings and recommendations regarding the potential impact on meeting carbon neutrality goals and directions for continued research.
A key challenge in engineering design problem framing is defining engineering requirements. This is a process in which engineers must make decisions about the use and prioritization of qualitative data, such as stakeholder needs, and use this information to establish engineering requirements. There is a significant body of research that explores differences between novice and expert designers, but there is limited evidence on these differences as it relates specifically to engineering requirements. As part of a larger research project on this topic, this study focuses on perceptions about engineering requirements among students in civil engineering. Specifically, we are interested in understanding students' experience working with engineering requirements, faculty experience facilitating such work in the classroom, and practitioner experience with engineering requirements in industry. Further, we are interested in perceptions among faculty and practitioners about the importance of engineering requirements as part of the undergraduate experience.
This is a project which is investigating what we term Pre-Service Faculty (PSF), engineering graduate students with intentions of becoming faculty, and their beliefs on learning. In this case, PSF are defined as engineering graduate students who are intending to seek a faculty position post graduation. Engineering education suffers from a resistance to the adoption of progressive pedagogy and newer learning techniques. Adoption of these educational methods will increase student engagement within the classroom and improve their learning through the duration of course and consequent degree program. The best place to implement these workshops and trainings, we argue, is during graduate school due to the tenure sprint inherent in most early faculty career paths. However, to design effective interventions or instructional programs requires an understanding of existing knowledge and thoughts or beliefs on learning. We interviewed several PSF and analyzed these interviews to understand their understanding of knowledge and learning.
Engineering courses are increasingly utilizing technology tools to enhance and support learning of engineering content. The COVID 19 pandemic and the move to emergency online instruction only increased the use of such tools as other avenues to connect with students and enhance online instruction. One such tool is Discord, a text, voice, and video messaging platform focused on building community. Sense-making, as defined in science and engineering education literature, is the ways in which students form deep understanding of concepts and reason about course material. In prior studies, this has been found through verbal conversation between students, or students and teaching assistants or instructors. In this study, we aim to investigate if text-based conversation on Discord produces similar results and how students use this technology as a tool in the classroom.
Recursion is often cited as both an essential and problematic topic for students to learn, though often without justifications for these claims. The goals of this research are focused on forming a framework from which to evaluate how students' form effective mental models for recursion, including the role of misconceptions, teaching strategies and experiences in the formation of these mental models. As a preliminary step in this research, a systematic literature review was performed to better understand the existing literature on the teaching and learning of recursion. The literature review consisted of 182 papers and was designed to answer the following research question: What methods for teaching recursion have been evaluated and have been determined to be effective? The results show that while many methods for teaching recursion have been developed, there is a surprising lack of evidence for the effectiveness of many of the methods presented.
Russia has a history of purposefully employing disinformation propagation campaigns on popular social media platforms for its own geopolitical objectives. The purpose of this study is to determine the nature of the disinformation propagation by Russia on Twitter regarding the Ukrainian invasion. There have been many studies on Russian Twitter disinformation campaigns (Freelon and Lokot, 2020). However, there is no comprehensive paper that studies Russian disinformation campaigns on Twitter with respect to the Ukrainian crisis. I compiled and mined Twitter user data using the public API to analyze the many forms of fake news and their impact. I found that there was a concerted campaign to spread fake news using Twitter to win sympathy for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These results highlight how Russia is using information warfare in a real-time context and has implications for how we can adapt our defense strategy for 4th generation warfare.
Inefficiencies in blood product management systems result in significant annual losses in product wastage and postponed medical procedures. This work proposes, a blockchain and smart-contract enabled system designed to mitigate some of these inefficiencies by increasing cooperation among all echelons of the blood supply chain, without sacrificing entity privacy and competition. The proposed framework facilitates collaborative decision-making among all stakeholders to distribute blood products across healthcare networks and reduce costs. It also facilitates product redistribution among hospitals and other transfusion points to reduce losses due to expired products or canceled medical procedures due to product shortages. A role-based smart contract is included in the framework to define stakeholder access and manage data exchange. To analyze the feasibility of the proposed framework, we implement a proof of concept on a local machine using Hyperledger fabric's test network and simulate transactions required for the inventory operations of a regional blood supply chain.
In recent years wildfires have increased dramatically, both in frequency and magnitude. At the same time, more people live in fire-prone ecosystems than ever before, placing an enormous risk on property and life. Previous wildfire research suggests a significant burden on public health due to the pollutant PM 2.5: the health effects ranging from higher cardiovascular and respiratory morbidities to increased mental health issues and hospitalizations. While there is consensus that prescribed fires decrease the risk of future wildfires, gauging the extent of this effect requires predicting a range of costs. This study, therefore, aims to develop a holistic model that minimizes total wildfire healthcare costs per acre of prescribed fire burned. This model will then be applied to case studies of wildfires in Oregon. This paper uses medical and pharmacy claims data obtained by the Oregon Health Authority. Other estimates included in the model will be determined using the following: historical prescribed burn permit records, daily wildfire and daily prescribed fire acres data, and Air Quality Index (PM 2.5) measures.
Photopolymerization based 3D printing is growing in popularity due to its unique ability to fabricate high resolution parts at fast speed outside the cleanroom. With controlled grayscaling and exposure control it has the potential to replace conventional lithography. Though the theoretical foundation for the photopolymerization exists, real time process monitoring is difficult. This can be attributed to the low refractive index difference between cured and uncured resin, microscopic size of the parts and the rapid rate of photopolymerization after crossing the threshold. Therefore, a system that can address these issues is necessary. Schlieren optics is a tool that make the minute changes in the refractive indices visible. We propose a modified schlieren based observation system with confocal magnifying optics. The proposed technique visualizes the light deflection by the changing density induced refractive index gradient and the use of focusing optics enables flexible positioning of virtual screen and optical magnification.
Achieving high-efficiency water splitting requires the use of a catalyst to minimize the overpotential to drive the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). Earth-abundant molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) has been discovered recently with good activity and stability for electrocatalytic reactions. Despite its ideal hydrogen adsorption energy, the broad adoption of MoS2 is hindered by its limited number of active sites and low electrical conductivity. In this work, we synthesized a dual-phase MoS2/MXene/CNT (DP-MTC) hybrid structure via a simple one-step solvothermal method where metallic 1T/2H-MoS2 was successfully grown in the interlayer of MXene with CNT served as a crosslink in the network. The hybrid structure exhibited a large number of active edge sites with improved electrical conductivity and showed an outstanding HER performance with a low overpotential of 169mV and Tafel slope of 51mV/dec. The DP-MTC also showed one of the best stability performance every reported with an ultralong life of 72h.
Develop an automatic algorithm that can extract and present sound velocities for symmetric and asymmetric waves (S0 and A0).
In solid fuel flame spread, there exists a "U" shaped flammability map depicting the flammability of the fuel that depends on the volumetric oxidizer concentration and flow speed in the surrounding environment. For oxidizer concentrations less than a critical value, no opposed flame spread occurs regardless of the flow speed. This value provides an important limiting oxygen concentration where opposed flame spread cannot occur which is an important quantity of interest in fire safety environments. To better understand this flammability map, a steady-state flame spread model with detailed chemistry and radiation is developed to explore the sensitivity of flame spread to the far field and fuel properties. Results are presented showing flame spread rate sensitivities and a constructed flammability map for PMMA. Comparisons of model results to NASA BASS II experiments show reasonable agreement to data for predicting the flammability map.
Sonification, the act of producing sounds that convey characteristics of data, can be useful in a biomedical sense. Around 500,000 people in the U.S. are impacted by cerebral palsy, a disorder that causes gait impairments. Sonification has been used to improve the outcome of rehabilitation therapy for people with cerebral palsy. In the rehabilitation therapy, a sound will be played on each heel strike to motivate proper foot biomechanics and encourage improved gait patterns. In an experiment over the summer, we wanted to identify the most effective sound to use for improving gait impairments in cerebral palsy patients. A participant was shown a graph that represents a series of heel strikes and a corresponding sound for each trial. After choosing a sound, this semester we have been working on making a device that can be controlled wireless through a GUI to evaluate forces in the heel, make sound, and collect data.
DM Monjurul & Adithya Pai
With the continual increase in volatility of natural gas prices and concerns regarding national energy security, alternative fuels such as low calorific value (LCV) synthetic gases (syngas), derived from gasification of coal or biomass, are being considered as important common fuels for the future. This study investigates the chemical combustion of two LCV fuels in a combustion chamber. CFD (ANSYS/FLUENT) has been used to study the kinematics of the chemical reaction. Two LCV fuels of approximately 8% and 15% of the Natural Gas (NG) heating values, are considered respectively. In this particular study, analysis has been made on 2 LCV fuels as well as natural gas to validate its kinematics. The result shows good agreement with the known values of chemical combustion of NG, e.g. adiabatic flame temperature, flow behavior etc. This study will also cover the analysis of the two LCV fuels as well for comparison.
This work aims at providing the first observation of the effect of curvature on the permittivity of materials in general. Prior work on the dielectric behavior of conductive materials has reported the enhancement of the permittivity by cold work and by grain size reduction, due to the promotion of the carrier-atom interaction. However, the effect of curvature on the permittivity has not been previously reported for any conductive or nonconductive material.
Intracranial aneurysms (IAs) are balloon like structures that form on cerebral vessels which can grow and rupture causing permanent disability or death. Vessel wall enhancement (VWE) is a potential imaging biomarker that can help identify high-risk aneurysms so the clinicians can treat only those aneurysms that need treatment. Herein, contrast is injected into the brain vessels and is absorbed by vessels which is observed in MRI imaging. However, currently the grading of VWE is done manually which is subjective and only a single metric is computed. In this study, we used radiomics features (RFs) extracted from non-enhanced and contrast-enhanced MRI images to better characterize VWE and compared its performance to existing metrics. We found that statistical models built using RFs outperformed current VWE metrics in risk stratification of IAs. This in combination with 3D VWE mapping developed by us could assist in making more informed decisions about IA management.
Jesus Bailon, Ellise Blake, Thomas Furey, Christian Post, Alexander Post, Eric Santelmo, Colby Tadlock & David Zaretsky
For the 2022 SAE CSC, the UB diesel snowmobile team will be using a 2018 Polaris Indy 550 Adventure 155 utility chassis fitted with a turbocharged 0.7 liter Kholer diesel engine. With this combination, accompanied by custom interface systems UB is able to retain performance, cost and reliability while decreasing noise and gaseous pollution, as well as fuel consumption. With the implementation of a stand alone programmable Engine Control Unit (ECU), a Kp35 turbocharger and boost controller, the UB diesel team is able to increase power and torque while maintaining complete control of the engine. This team has also implemented a new and improved exhaust system as well as a diesel particulate filter fuel treatment system. The new snowmobile also contains a redesigned coolant system, wiring harness and throttle control system to increase efficiency and reliability. Lastly the introduction of sound-detining Lizard Skin applied throughout the chassis and additional insulating foam-materials applied throughout the engine cavity, enables further reduction of the noise pollution to make the sled design quieter in hopes of improving public appeal.
Achira Boonrath & Cailean Woods
Tether nets are one of the most promising technologies proposed for the removal of large objects from Earth orbit. Before net-based debris removal missions can be pursued, work is required to understand the behavior of nets in low gravity environments. This paper discusses the validation of a simulator, making use of lumped parameter modeling techniques and implemented within the commercial multibody dynamics simulation software Vortex Studio, against data from a parabolic flight experiment of net-based capture. A model of the net with inner nodes along the threads is introduced to enable collision detection with the thin elements of the target employed in the experiment. Both the deployment and capture phases of the net-based capture scenario are analyzed. Simulation results are found to be in good agreement with experimental data, thus improving confidence in the simulator's practicality as a tool for research and signifying an expansion of the simulator's capabilities.
Legal scholars have been puzzled how an authoritarian extremist could become the presidential candidate of a major American political party and transform that party into an anti-democratic party in less than four years. American election law assigns to political parties rather than the state the role of gatekeeper against extremist candidates, and until 2016 the Republican Party routinely used the available legal tools to screen out extremists and maintain party discipline. However, in 2016 an unusual concatenation of circumstances allowed Donald Trump to win the party nomination by making the usual set of controls ineffective. Ironically, once Trump became the president and party leader, he hijacked existing methods of party self-control to screen out his opponents and select his loyalists to run the Republican Party. This hijacking demonstrated that election law wrongly assumed the party would regulate itself to remain moderate to win elections. In order to resolve the present democratic crisis, I suggest that Republican Party leaders should set up a national disciplinary committee to audit the behavior of elected officials within the party.
In the last eleven years, the Department of Defense estimates that roughly 135,000 active duty service members have been sexually assaulted and approximately 509,000 active duty service members have been the victim of sexual harassment. Yet, even with these surging numbers little has changed within the military. Attempts to reform the military's approach to sexual violence have been made. However, such legislation frequently seeks to overhaul the military entirely, a seemingly impossible feat for an institution deeply embedded in American culture and society. Even though attempts at large-scale reform have failed, change has occurred, though on a smaller scale. With the passage of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (2022 NDAA) the military branches will be required to implement a number of key changes with the purpose being to target the military's policies and procedures related to sexual offenses. Instead of a complete overhaul of the military, the 2022 NDAA took a more conservative approach only targeting those things which could truly make a difference. While each of the proposed changes are a step in the right direction, they fail to go far enough. Though outside of the chain of command, service members remain in control of both the adjudicatory and investigatory processes for crimes involving sexual violence. History has shown, both inside and outside the armed forces, that institutional self-regulation does not work. This Comment explores the history of sexual violence in the military and the failures of institutional self-regulation. Part I outlines the military's devastating record of sexual violence and outlines the sections of the 2022 NDAA which attempt to remedy this crisis. Part II identifies that while the piecemeal approach taken by the 2022 NDAA was correct, the continuation of self-regulation is ripe for failure. Finally, Part III provides a potential solution with the intent and hope of eradicating sexual violence within the military.
Laura Conboy & Patrice Malcolm
Erie County should adopt policies to reduce racial housing segregation. For example, it could create incentives for municipalities to increase zoning density and reduce parking restrictions on new-build projects. As a federal grant recipient, the county has a legal obligation to promote fair housing and decrease segregation. Western New York is one of the most segregated regions in the nation. Countless opportunities exist for the county to be a leader in reducing segregation. Increasing zoning density, for example, would encourage the creation of affordable housing in towns across the county, not just in the City of Buffalo, where affordable housing is often built. By incentivizing the creation of affordable housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods, the county will move toward a future in which residents have meaningful choices for where they live. In a world where zip codes are closely correlated with life opportunities, meaningful choices translate into better educations, jobs, and health for people of color.
The project that I would like to present is "Tracing the Impacts on Agriculture and Food". This project was created to analyze and create visualizations of various impacts on agriculture and food production. For example, the project indicates the decrease in agricultural farmlands in the US, Temperature change anomalies, and price inflation over the past two decades. We were able to attain the visualization results and calculate the overall decrease in agricultural farmlands per hour using the High-Performance Computing (HPC) techniques. The tools and resources used to accomplish the required results were obtained using the Jupyter project (Jupyter notebooks), PyCharm, python, usda.gov, etc. (TACC) sponsored the resources required for required computing. All the visualization results were created using the Frontera computing system under the Jetstream cloud environment for XSEDE. This project was presented at Computing4Change, Super Computing 20 conference (SC'20) by Sighpc and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
We document a positive relationship between policy uncertainty and short-term credit spreads. This finding is robust to various controls for macroeconomic variables, financial and macroeconomic uncertainties and to different model specifications. Political discord between the Congress and the administration affects the short-term financing market performance. Financial constraints, liquidity, volatility and rollover risk are the channels through which policy uncertainty affects short-term credit spreads. Policy uncertainty effects are stronger during periods of uncertainty such as presidential elections and financial crisis, and these effects are more pronounced for short-term debts with longer maturity.
Foreign infrastructure investments tend to increase cross-border economic activity between investor and recipient countries. We question whether such an increase comes at the expense of trade with third-party countries (a "zero-sum hypothesis"), or whether the infrastructure investment leads to an increase in overall trade (a "lifting all boats hypothesis"). Our investigation is within the context of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In a sample spanning 2013 to 2018 and covering 1,135 BRI projects in 110 countries, we find strong evidence in support of the zero-sum hypothesis. The increase in cross-border economic activity (imports, exports, and M&A flows) with China is accompanied by a decrease in activity with third party countries. Further, we show that, following BRI investments, BRI countries trade more with other countries that are politically aligned with China, but less with countries that have recently been visited by the Dalai Lama. Overall, our evidence points to both a "zero-sum" nature of the impact of infrastructure on cross-border trade, and to the existence of a BRI "network" that favors countries that are politically aligned with China.
At the minute-by-minute horizon, capturing and identifying unexpected and short-lived predictors can be essential in return prediction. Different from traditional models such as autoregressive or factor models, the LASSO can estimate predictions without human intuition.Using the intraday data from three non-US stock markets, we examine how the LASSO performs in return forecasts in international markets using intraday data of 2000 - 2010.
In the world of investing, financial professionals and investors depend heavily upon the 10-K report to make investment decisions. While most sections of the 10-K report are audited, the Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) section is not held to the same standards. Due to the unregulated nature of MD&As, investors often misinterpret and/or overlook what managers write in this section because the complexity of the language used often conceals insightful information. The purpose of this study is to analyze the language that is contained within MD&A sections and to see how the language translates to investment performance. Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques will be used to analyze MD&A sections of financial statements to identify innovative companies that will be validated by traditional investor metrics that show a correlation to strong investment performance. The goal is to show that NLP techniques can be used to successfully analyze a financial statement's MD&A section.
Joana Martins Marques, Melicia Skeen & Mary Grace Yetter
Exploring the history and culture of Germany and Hungary.
Health information technology (HIT) has been widely adopted in hospital settings, contributing to improved patient safety. However, many types of medical errors attributable to information technology (IT) have negatively impacted patient safety. The continued occurrence of many errors is a reminder that HIT software testing and validation is not adequate in ensuring errorless software functioning within the health care organization. This pilot study aims to classify technology-related medical errors in a hospital setting using an expanded version of the sociotechnical framework to understand the significant differences in the perceptions of clinical and technology stakeholders regarding the potential causes of these errors. The paper also provides some recommendations to prevent future errors. Medical errors were collected from previous studies identified in leading health databases. From the main list, we selected errors that occurred in hospital settings. Semistructured interviews with 5 medical and 6 IT professionals were conducted to map the events on different dimensions of the expanded sociotechnical framework. Of the 2319 identified publications, 36 were included in the review. Of the 67 errors collected, 12 occurred in hospital settings. The classification showed the "gulf" that exists between IT and medical professionals in their perspectives on the underlying causes of medical errors. IT experts consider technology as the source of most errors and suggest solutions that are mostly technical. However, clinicians assigned the source of errors within the people, process, and contextual dimensions. For example, for the error "Copied and pasted charting in the wrong window: Before, you could not easily get into someone else's chart accidentally...because you would have to pull the chart and open it," medical experts highlighted contextual issues, including the number of patients a health care provider sees in a short time frame, unfamiliarity with a new electronic medical record system, nurse transitions around the time of error, and confusion due to patients having the same name. They emphasized process controls, including failure modes, as a potential fix. Technology experts, in contrast, discussed the lack of notification, poor user interface, and lack of end-user training as critical factors for this error. Knowledge of the dimensions of the sociotechnical framework and their interplay with other dimensions can guide the choice of ways to address medical errors. These findings lead us to conclude that designers need not only a high degree of HIT know-how but also a strong understanding of the medical processes and contextual factors. Although software development teams have historically included clinicians as business analysts or subject matter experts to bridge the gap, development teams will be better served by more immersive exposure to clinical environments, leading to better software design and implementation, and ultimately to enhanced patient safety.
Jason Djaparidze & ZayYa MinYin
Metaverse is a growing field where people and businesses can monetize their virtual properties. Our goal of this project is to help people clarify the concept of metaverse and the related business/science opportunities that can stem from the metaverse.
Danny JM Kim
Despite the recent proliferation of animal-friendly products, conventional products still dominate the market. Drawing from system justification theory, the current research shows that a greater perception of income inequality is one of the factors preventing consumers from switching to animal-friendly products. Consumers are motivated to justify the shortcomings of their society, such as great income inequality. The process of justifying income inequality will lead consumers to accept the idea that more competent groups can dominate over less competent groups, which can apply to humans' domination over animals. Studies demonstrate that consumers who perceive greater income inequality are less likely to prefer animal-friendly products and that enhanced social dominance orientation accounts for this effect.
This paper analyzes the impacts of China's Green Fence and National Sword Programs, under which strict contamination limits were imposed on recyclable materials, besides prohibiting imports of low quality recyclables. Specifically, this study investigates the impacts of this policy on landfills, and the risks to the U.S. plastics secondary materials market and material recovery facilities (MRFs). A hierarchical regression analysis reveals the significant impacts of China's Green Fence and National Sword polices on the amount landfilled plastic. Controlling for oil prices, producer price index (PPI), and amount of plastic scrap exported, our findings show that the Green Fence had no statistically significant impact on the amount of plastic landfilled in the U.S. However, the quantity of plastic landfilled in the U.S. increased by 23.2% following the implementation of National Sword. Furthermore, analysis of the annual reports submitted by registered MRFs in New York (NY) state reveals that the total amount of plastic recovered by them has decreased. We suggest that demand creation and investments that improve the quality of bales are needed to help solve this economic dilemma.
Development proceeds through coordinated gene expression programs governed by gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Understanding how GRNs evolve over a large evolutionary range is important but challenging. We are studying GRN evolution during development of the central nervous systems (CNS) of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the disease vector mosquito Aedes aegypti. Expression of a set of genes co-expressed in the midline of the D. melanogaster CNS, including the master regulator single minded (sim), has diverged in these species. We have been identifying relevant cis-regulatory sequences ("CRMs") in both species. To identify late A. aegypti sim CRMs, we successfully tested non-coding sequences from the A. aegypti sim locus that are conserved in the related Aedes albopictus. Because Sim is a key regulator of the midline GRN, analysis of these newly-identified A. aegypti sim CRMs will help to illuminate the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for midline GRN redeployment.
Enhancers are DNA sequences critical for gene regulation in animals. While function-based reporter gene assays have been traditional benchmarks for enhancer identification, biochemical assays that scan for chromatin-level markers have become a powerful alternative. To compare functional and chromatin-level enhancer definitions, we analyzed overlap between enhancers defined in two public databases, REDfly and EnhancerAtlas2.0. REDfly uses a functional definition based on reporter gene analysis, while EnhancerAtlas catalogues results from chromatin-level assays. We compared tissue-specific REDfly and EnhancerAtlas datasets, finding that only 4 of 11 sets showed statistically significant overlap. We then took underlying EnhancerAtlas data subsets and compared them individually with their matched REDfly sets. 66% of these had significant overlap, an increase from the full-set comparisons, but the degree of overlap remained strikingly limited (median 39%). The poor overlap between reporter-gene defined enhancers and chromatin-assay defined enhancers suggests that one or both enhancer definitions carries a high error rate.
We are creating the Protein Conformation Ontology (PRC) in order to create a comprehensive ontological representation of protein conformations including secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structures. We are interested in formally defining and describing the conformations of proteins including those that adopt alternate conformations based on changing environmental conditions. The developing PRC currently has 71 subclasses of protein secondary structure and will be growing to include tertiary and quaternary structure. Protein conformation classes are found under the Basic Formal Ontology 'disposition' class due to the fact that proteins have the potential to take on different conformations based on a wide range of conditions in their environment. An initial list of protein structures were created based on the Sequence Ontology (SO) class 'polypeptide secondary structure' and information from other sources and then defined as types of conformations that capture their three-dimensional structure rather than as sequence features of polypeptides. We are using these protein secondary structure classes to model the domain structure of the sodium channel on the tertiary and quaternary levels. The long term goals of PRC include describing protein domains in terms of their secondary structure conformation and then describing protein structures according to their domain composition and order. These ontological representations of protein structures can then be linked to the Protein Ontology classes for the relevant proteins, potentially in an automated way. By creating these ontological representations of protein structure, we can enable comparison and querying of proteins based on their structure, both within and across species. Also, we can create ontological representations of protein aggregates linked to pathological conditions, such as neurological diseases, that take into account the alternate conformations of the proteins within them.
Zoe Giandomenico, Mayuri Patel & Hazel Rodriguez
Krabbe disease (KD), also known as Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (GLD), is a neurological disorder mostly affecting children under the age of six months. This disease is caused due to a mutation in the galactosylceramidase (GALC) gene. GALC mutation causes multiple effects in the cells such as accumulation of a toxic substance called psychosine and galactosylceramide, and degeneration of myelin sheath that is essential for the function of neurons in the brain. Especially, the presence of multinucleated immune cells in the brain, so-called globoid cells, is the prominent feature of KD pathology. However, how the globoid cells are formed by GALC mutation is largely unknown. Therefore, we hypothesize that accumulated psychosine and/or galactosylceramide causes immune cells in the brain to become globoid cells. By observing the morphology of the microglial cells with treatment of GALC substrates, we concluded that psychosine prevents the cytokinesis process leading to formation of multinucleated globoid cells.
Oxysterols are oxygenated sterols that have important roles in human health and disease. Analysis of oxysterols in human blood serum is complicated by difficult sample preparation procedures. The use of enzymatic hydrolysis greatly simplifies sample processing. In this presentation, we estimate the analytical performance characteristics of enzymatic hydrolysis in preparing human serum samples for liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis of oxysterols. LC-MS analysis was performed using an existing, validated methodology. Calibration and linear dynamic range were established using stable isotope dilution internal standard methodology. Imprecision was assessed by replicate analysis of two quality control materials (QCM) of pooled human serum stored at -80o C. Accuracy was assessed as the percent deviation (PD) of points from the calibration curve. Imprecision was assessed as the percent coefficient of variation (%CV). This study concluded that the use of enzymatic hydrolysis offers a rapid means of sample preparation for oxysterol analysis.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the most prominent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that acts as a psychoactive as it changes the functions of the nervous system. In recent Center for Disease Control & Prevention reports there has been a spike of lung injury and vaping related deaths due to a Vitamin E Acetate additive in THC. Based on genome-wide association studies, THC alters the gene expression of CHRNA2, CHRNA3, CHRNA5, CHRNA7 and CHRNB4. These changes affect the progression of lung and brain cancer. To examine the effect of CBD and THC on lung cancer progression we used the lung cancer cell line A549, and to examine the effects of THC and CBD (a non-psychoactive) on brain cancer cells, we used the glioblastoma cell line C6. The methods of these experiments include the evaluation of gene expression using quantitative PCR, which is used to determine the number of genes being expressed, and colony formation assay, which is an in vitro cell survival assay that shows a single cell growing into a colony. Preliminary experiments, where we treated A549 and C6 cells with THC or CBD to examine the changes in the gene expression levels, are underway.
Murat C. Kalem
Protein arginine methylation is a key post-translational modification in eukaryotes that modulates core cellular processes, including translation, morphology, transcription, and RNA fate. However, this has not been explored in Cryptococcus neoformans, a human-pathogenic basidiomycetous encapsulated fungus. We characterized the five protein arginine methyltransferases in C. neoformans and highlight Rmt5 as critical regulator of cryptococcal morphology and virulence. An rmt5∆ mutant was defective in thermotolerance, had a remodeled cell wall, and exhibited enhanced growth in an elevated carbon dioxide atmosphere and in chemically induced hypoxia. We revealed that Rmt5 interacts with post-transcriptional gene regulators, such as RNA-binding proteins and translation factors. Further investigation of the rmt5∆ mutant showed that Rmt5 is critical for the homeostasis of eIF2alpha and its phosphorylation state following 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole-induced ribosome stalling. RNA sequencing of one rmt5∆ clone revealed stable chromosome 9 aneuploidy that was ameliorated by complementation but did not impact the rmt5∆ phenotype. As a result of these diverse interactions and functions, loss of RMT5 enhanced phagocytosis by murine macrophages and attenuated disease progression in mice. Taken together, our findings link arginine methylation to critical cryptococcal cellular processes that impact pathogenesis, including post-transcriptional gene regulation by RNA-binding proteins.
Mindfulness training has become increasingly prevalent in popular culture and is associated with improved well-being. However, little is understood about the effects of such practices on interpersonal and prosocial behavior. Two studies were conducted to examine these interpersonal effects. Study 1 (N = 366) involved a brief mindfulness induction, which was compared to a control condition in which participants engaged in mind-wandering meditation. Data from this study indicated that mindfulness increased prosocial behavior amongst those with interdependent self-construals, but the opposite was observed amongst those who defined themselves as being relatively independent of others. In Study 2 (N = 325), the same mindfulness induction reduced prosocial behavior in individuals primed with independence but led those primed with interdependence to exhibit higher levels of prosocial behavior. These findings support the idea that the effects of mindfulness on prosocial behavior are person- and context-dependent; the impact of mindfulness practice is variable due to differences in broad social goals and self-definition on an individual level.
The effects of nicotinamide were observed in three induced pluripotent stem cell derived RPE (iPSC-RPE) cell lines, CWI and A2 lines from human donor Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome patients and DYS from wild type donors. Supplementation of culture media with 10 mM Nic improved iPSC-RPE cell differentiation, polygonal morphology, monolayer uniformity, phase-bright border and anti-Occludin staining continuity, and F-actin organization, relative to vehicle control. While the effects were modest for DYS (WT) and CWI cells (SLOS mild mutation), A2 cells (severe SLOS mutation) showed profound improvement. Culture medium supplementation with 10 mM Nic promotes up-regulation of RPE cell markers and normal RPE-like morphology and cytology of cultured iPSC-RPE cells, particularly those derived from severely-affected SLOS donors. Nic supplementation may augment therapeutic efficacy of current standard-of-care treatment for SLOS patients.
Increased tissue stiffness is a hallmark feature in aging and many diseases, most notably atherosclerosis, lung and liver fibrosis, and cancer. At the cellular level, stiffness is defined as the sum rigidity of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and intracellular stiffness. Yet, it remains unclear how ECM stiffness is converted into biochemical signals that drive cells to divide in an uncontrollable manner. Lamellipodin was initially identified as a key regulator of cell migration. We examined if and how ECM stiffness modulates lamellipodin, as well as the extent to which lamellipodin regulates stiffness-dependent cell proliferation. Experimentally, we mimicked in vivo healthy and diseased stiffnesses using low (soft) and high (stiff) polyacrylamide hydrogels, respectively; and seeded with cells. We characterize, for the first time, lamellipodin to be a novel molecular linchpin in the mechanotransduction of stiffness-dependent cell proliferation. Lastly, we propose a unique integrin-associated FAK-Cas-Rac signaling axis by which ECM stiffness regulates lamellipodin.
In 2021, we demonstrated links between engagement in a winter hiking challenge and hiking frequency. Yet <50% of participants completed challenge hikes, noting a lack of proper equipment as a barrier. This year, we tested whether providing winter traction cleats would bolster impacts of this intervention.After randomization, the intervention group received hiking challenge access and traction cleats. Controls received a delayed intervention. Participants (n=51) reported daily activities, stress, and sleep via baseline, midpoint (~6 weeks), and post-test (~12 weeks) surveys. Those engaged beyond baseline (n=47) were included in repeated measures ANOVAs testing intervention effects on hiking, sleep, and stress. Half of the intervention group completed challenge hikes. The intervention group hiked significantly more than controls (p<.05) and trended toward greater nightly sleep by post-test (p=0.07). Differences in stress were non-significant. Greater intervention uptake after addressing reported barriers suggests its potential use to bolster outdoor activity.
Jessica Jong Jean Mars & Reid Minier
Breastfeeding has numerous benefits for both mothers and infants. Smoking during pregnancy can affect multiple aspects of child development and postpartum outcomes. Our systematic literature review and meta-analysis aimed to provide a comprehensive summary on how maternal smoking during pregnancy can impact both breastfeeding initiation and duration. Methods: Data from 40 eligible articles included the number of smokers and non-smokers during pregnancy, and the number of breastfeeding mothers in each group from delivery to 12 months postpartum. Data were analyzed using R and associations between prenatal smoking status and breastfeeding practices were quantified using pooled odds ratios. Results: Pooled odds ratios of breastfeeding in smokers versus non-smokers at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months postpartum were 0.46, 0.36, 0.35, and 0.34, respectively. A meta-regression plot also illustrated smoking during pregnancy had a negative impact on breastfeeding duration. Conclusion: Maternal smoking during pregnancy has an adverse effect on breastfeeding initiation and duration.
It's important to understand food related parenting during meals away-from-home, as children eat from these contexts frequently and tend to have less healthy intake when doing so. The main objective of this study is to examine food parenting styles at home and in restaurants among parents with children 3-8 years. Participants were recruited in February and March of 2022, and completed an online survey. The Caregivers Feeding Style Questionnaire captured food parenting at home and in restaurants. Demographics were also collected. Parents reported lower demandingness and higher responsiveness in restaurants compared to home (p<.0001). They were more likely to use indulgent feeding styles (p<.001) and less likely to use authoritarian feeding styles (p<.05) in restaurants versus home. Findings shed light on parents' feeding styles in restaurants and how they differ from home. Differences across contexts can have implications for healthy eating interventions in away-from-home contexts.
Paula Costa & Brisa Salinas
The neuropeptide S receptor (NPSR) is a G protein-coupled receptor that has been implicated in various disease states, such as anxiety, and has shown promise as a target for the treatment of anxiety. Central brain administration of Neuropeptide S (NPS) in mice produces anxiolytic-like effects, hyperlocomotion, and memory enhancement. Since current anxiety drugs cause undesirable side effects, development of more efficacious drugs is important. However, research into this system has been conducted solely in male rodents, despite females showing a higher prevalence for anxiety disorders. The current study investigated whether NPS-mediated behavioral phenotypes seen in males translate to females, and whether they are affected by estrous cycle stage. Female C57BL/6 mice were intracerebroventricularly (ICV) cannulated and underwent various behavioral paradigms. Consistent with findings in male mice, NPS-treated females displayed hyperlocomotion. NPS-treated females displayed anxiolytic-like behaviors, however this effect is contingent on different phases of the estrous cycle.
Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), including autism and intellectual disability, affect nearly 1 in 50 children in the United States. To develop treatments for NDD cognitive difficulties, we must first uncover the underlying causes. Two top-ranking genetic risk factors for ASD are ADNP and POGZ. Both play a similar role in gene expression modulation, with far-reaching consequences on cell function. Using viral-based gene transfer, we investigated the result of loss of Adnp or Pogz expression in mouse cortex. This project has revealed that diminished Adnp or Pogz impairs cognitive behavior and synaptic transmission. Further, Adnp or Pogz deficiency induces a significant increase in immune-related gene transcription, alongside increased activation of pro-inflammatory glial cells. We hypothesize that loss of Adnp- or Pogz-mediated transcriptional control of immune targets increases neuroinflammation. The inflammatory environment leads to the observed synaptic and cognitive difficulties, providing a novel target for behavioral therapeutic intervention.
This study examined whether smoking and e-cigarette use was associated with adolescent suicidal ideation and behavior. Data from the 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was used. A serious of binary logistic regression models were conducted in Mplus Version 8.6. Covariates were gender, age, race/ethnicity, and sexual identity. Samples were 13,667 students (50.3% female). Smoke only, e-cigarette only, and dual-use, regardless of ever or current, increased the likelihood of seriously considering attempting suicide, attempted suicide, and times of attempting suicide. Wald tests showed that dual-use had stronger effects on the likelihood of the outcomes than e-cigarette use only (both ever and current; all p's < .001). Our findings suggested that cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use are linked to the increased likelihood of adolescent suicidal ideation and behavior.
Cristina de Rosa
Persons with dementia (PWD) may utilize external services and supports more frequently when they live alone in the community versus living with family or friends. Profiling PWD may provide insight into gaps in care needs. The purpose of this study was to determine whether differences exist in predisposing, enabling, and need factors for PWD who live alone compared to those who live with others. This descriptive, cross-sectional analysis performed chi-square tests for independence comparing characteristics of PWD within a nationally-representative dataset linked with their respective caregivers. There were significant associations between living alone versus with others and age, gender, race, marital status, number of children, and living situation satisfaction, but not education, importance of attending religious services, Medicaid eligibility, census division, or overall self-rated health. Future longitudinal analysis should explore how living alone or with others influences outcomes over time, transitions in care, and use of services.
As a rapidly-growing discipline, systems must be in place to promote quality education for Nurse Practitioners (NPs). Established NP precepting barriers include a lack of standardized clinical education, precepting incentives, and research supporting NP precepting best practice. This study sought to explore perceived teaching barriers, facilitators, and resource needs among active NP preceptors to guide development of an evidence-based precepting toolkit, and aimed to gain greater insight into the NP preceptor role and what is needed to optimally fulfill the role. Data were analyzed using Braun and Clarke's Reflexive Thematic Analysis method. Findings revealed that although participants viewed the NP preceptor role as important, valuable, and enjoyable, formal role preparation was almost nonexistent, improved communication among preceptors, students, and schools is needed, and education is needed regarding the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in NP precepting. Further research is needed exploring and examining NP preceptor resources and role preparation.
Uptake of advance care planning(ACP) is slow despite the evidence of its benefits. Websites and apps may overcome barriers, improve equity, and support patients in the process of ACP. To identify and compare evidence-based ACP approaches with websites and apps that are available to individuals, families, and healthcare providers. This study utilized a mix-methods approach. Preliminary qualitative analysis and chi-square tests were conducted. 5 evidence-based ACP, 15 websites, and 9 apps were identified. Qualitative themes included positive affect, conversations, practical application, tailoring messages, making(decisions and meaning), and advocacy. The type of ACP was associated with personalization χ2(2)=10.31, p=0.006, offering additional resources to the user χ2(2)=8.801, p=0.012, and requiring assistance to complete ACP χ2(2)=7.741, p=0.005. Websites and apps provide more resources, and personalization than evidence-based approaches. Evidence-based ACP approaches may benefit from offering website and apps to ACP, which may promote health equity and reduce barriers.
The insufficient blood hemoglobin is the major cause for anemia in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. The quantity hemoglobin can be affected by erythropoietin (EPO) that is produced by the kidney. EPO acts by stimulating the production of RBC's in stem cells present within bone marrow. Erythroferrone (ERFE) regulates hepcidin, a hormone controlling the plasma iron levels within the body. ERFE is released and synthesized in a greater quantity when EPO is released from the kidney. The previous study found both increases of RBC lifespan and decreases of RBC lifespan when given recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) treatment in different ESRD patient groups. The data collected consists of measurements of the components of blood samples taken from patients. This study will use R and R Studio to further analyze the data from the previous clinical study, aiming to better predict interpatient-variability when receiving rHuEPO treatment.
Insulin immunogenicity is prevalent in Type I Diabetes patients. Our lab has developed tolerogenic phosphatidylserine (PS) based lipid nanoparticles for the treatment of autoimmune disease. Lysophosphatidylserine (lysoPS) is a type of PS-based lipid that has shown to induce immune tolerance when associated with therapeutics protein. The focus of this study is to further optimize Lyso-PS nanoparticles and to characterize biophysical properties of 50% LysoPS containing insulin for treatment of Type I Diabetes. Our data showed the association efficiency of Lyso-PS containing insulin was more than 60% and sizes of nanoparticles were not significantly altered. Our data suggested LysoPS structures were stable after insulin loading and optimized under this condition.
Current anti-angiogenic drugs, used for macular degeneration and various forms of cancer such as ovarian cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, are targeting Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) signaling pathway. When activated, VEGF promotes blood vessel formation, also known as angiogenesis. However, resistance and metastasis are common and major problems of the VEGF inhibitors. Apelin and its receptor (APJ) signaling pathway is also involved in the angiogenic process. When used in combination with VEGF inhibitors, APJ antagonists showed antitumor effect via anti-angiogenesis and prevented resistance and metastasis. Furthermore, VEGF signaling has been shown to require the presence of Apelin to promote angiogenesis. Therefore, combinational therapy utilizing both VEGF inhibitors and an APJ inhibitor can prove to be clinically beneficial. However, currently, there is no clinically available APJ inhibitor. Improvement and development of a clinically relevant APJ inhibitor can lead to an effective combinational therapy utilizing both the APJ inhibitor and current VEGF inhibitors.
Hao Ming Wu
APJ receptor, a novel target for cancer therapy, is a G protein-coupled receptor that can be activated by endogenous ligands, apelin. APJ receptors and apelin can promote cancer cells to progress, such as proliferation, metastasis, and angiogenesis. ML221, a competitive selective APJ receptor antagonist, was used in the study as a reference compound. In this study, the efficacy and potency of ML221 and ML221 analogues, which were developed to tackle the instability issue, were tested on OVCAR3, OVCAR5, and OVCAR8 ovarian cell lines. Cell viability assay, cell count assay, and cell migration assay were utilized. The IC50 value of ML221 was 30uM, and proliferation inhibition was 48.1% at 30uM. Cell viability assay, cell count assay, and cell migration assay were optimized before the implementation of ML221 analogues screening system. In conclusion, an optimized cell-based assay screening system can provide robust results for the evaluation of anticancer activities of ML221 analogues.
Efficacy and safety of therapeutic proteins is undermined by immunogenicity or unwanted immune response driven by anti-drug antibodies. In particular, proteins administered subcutaneously can suffer from enhanced immunogenic potential compared to intravenous administration. Immunogenicity risk assessment is necessary in preclinical development stages to screen therapeutic protein candidates, but current methods lack mechanistic insight into the subcutaneous immune response. Migration of cutaneous dendritic cells into the injection site and toward draining lymph nodes for T-cell activation is proposed to be a driver of subcutaneous immunogenicity. Migratory potential of dendritic cells, based on chemokine receptor expression and chemokine ligand-mediated Transwell migration, correlated with the immunogenic potential of six protein antigens. Application of these markers in a preclinical screening tool, in combination with other available prediction methods, should improve immunogenicity risk assessment for subcutaneously administered therapeutic proteins.
As the number of patients using protein therapeutics to treat both common diseases and disorders as well as rare diseases and disorders has increased, the number of patients that have an immunogenic response to these drugs has also increased. Immunogenic reactions are adverse drug reactions that occur in response to giving a large molecule drug where the patient's immune system begins to attack the given biologic, making it useless to treat the disease at hand. It's unknown whether the innate immune system of the body plays a significant role in the immune response that is mounted against these biological drugs however, by learning more, possible intervention can be put in place to allow patients to use these lifesaving protein therapeutics for longer periods of time. By introducing adeno-associated viral particles into an in vitro natural killer cell culture, we can deduce if the innate immune system begins the immunogenic cascade against new protein therapeutic drugs which renders them ineffective. To do this, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are sorted, and the natural killer cells are collected and placed into a cell culture environment. Once stable, adeno-associated viral particles are added in varying amounts into the cell culture and are left to incubate. Using flow cytometry, differing amounts of cytokines and other indicators of natural killer cell activation, including interferon-gamma and perforin, are detected. The results of this experiment, show that natural killer cells release increased amounts of both interferon-gamma and perforin in response to the added adeno-associated virus. This then indicates that natural killer cells play a role in beginning the immunogenic cascade against protein drugs. This information can be applied and used to make new pharmaceutical entities targeting the repression of the natural killer cell response, which could aid in decreasing the immunogenic response towards lifesaving protein therapeutics.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) serves one of the leading platforms of gene delivery to treat diverse human diseases. Despite seemingly extensive experience with AAV therapeutics, quantitative relationships between the dose of AAV and its exposure in tissues have not been established. Additionally, most biodistribution studies used intracellular fluorescent proteins, which failed to translate into situations where transgene products need to act outside cells. We have designed and produced different serotypes of AAVs encoding a non-binding monoclonal antibody, and investigated whole-body pharmacokinetics of the AAV vectors and the transgene product following intravenous injection into mice. Different serotypes exhibited distinct tropisms and steady-state antibody concentrations. The quantitative data have been utilized to inform a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic model of AAV that incorporate viral kinetics, transfection efficiency, as well as protein synthesis rate. We believe that the findings will facilitate clinical translation of AAV pharmacokinetics and rationale design of AAV therapeutics.
Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. Up to 80% of bladder cancer patients are diagnosed with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), the earliest stage of bladder cancer. I am working in Dr.You's group which works on the novel and innovative treatment of (NMIBC) with photodynamic therapy and photosensitive anticancer prodrugs. This novel treatment seeks to prevent the recurrence of NMIBC to advanced stages. The specific aims of the research my group is doing are to synthesize and characterize light activatable prodrugs, evaluate the distribution safety and efficacy of the prodrugs through in vitro, ex vivo, and in-vivo settings, and lastly to build a computational model to explain diffusion profile and to perform the sensitivity analysis as well as to build a Pharmacokinetic (PK) and Pharmacodynamic (PD) model to explain light and drug distribution and their subsequent effect on treating NMIBC.
Immunogenicity of therapeutic protein use in hemophilia A patients is of growing concern. Alternatives to recombinant Factor VIII are expensive, and efficacy varies immensely, each with their own set of problems. The experiment included an in-vitro assay of the immunogenicity of various hemophilia A protein therapeutics, examining the impact of protein and excipient aggregates, and particles, in their role of immunogenicity. A cell culture of murine dendritic cells was conducted, isolated from bone marrow derived hemopoietic stem cells, and exposed to several recombinant Factor VIII therapeutic proteins with known problems in protein/excipient aggregates and particles in clinical reconstitution techniques. The cell's surface expression of receptors via flow cytometry (MHCII, CD11c, CD86, CXCR4) was measured, and their chemokine expression (IL-12) via ELISA. The expected results include a higher particle size/count (based off previous articles) correlating with clinically relevant immunogenicity incidences, and the upregulation of markers and secretions of the cultured dendritic cells.
A major limitation for current AAV mediated in-vivo gene therapies is the occurrence of anti-AAV immunogenicity. ⁓40-50% of individuals have Nab targeting AAV8 rendering gene therapy useless.1 Apart from antibody response, AAV gene therapy has been shown to be limited by anti-AAV cellular immunity. Reversing pre-existing immunity toward the vector will expand the patient population able to receive these therapies. Pre-clinical data is shown that demonstrates the potential of Lyso-phosphatidylserine (LysoPS) nanoparticles associated with AAV8 (LysoPS-AAV8) to reverse antibody titers towards AAV8 in Swiss Webster mice and non-human primates. To gain mechanistic insight on how this is accomplished we assessed various regulatory T cell subsets in mouse spleens and primate peripheral blood post treatment. A trend in titer reduction was seen in both species, multiple Treg subsets were found to be upregulated in mouse spleens, while LAP+ tregs were found circulating in NHP peripheral blood after LysoPS-AAV8 treatment.
One of the main complications when trying to clinically manage hemophilia A is the development of antidrug antibodies, or inhibitors. These inhibitors block the activity of factor VIII (FVIII), which leads to a loss of hemostatic efficacy and increased risk of bleeding. Current treatments are expensive, and in some cases rendered ineffective. This study deals with using a tolerogenic form of FVIII as an immunotherapy to prevent the risk of inhibitors. This was done by associating the FVIII with nanoparticles containing lysophosphatidylserine (Lyso-PS) and administering this to hemophilia A mice via intravenous route. These animals received weekly rechallenge injections with free FVIII, and plasma samples were collected at the end of the study. A pharmacokinetic study following a single intravenous administration of FVIII in the presence and absence of Lyso-PS to test how these nanoparticles influence the plasma survivability of FVIII.
We have recently shown that co-administration of antibodies with anti-idiotypic distribution enhancers (AIDEs) that inhibit antibody binding to tumor antigens enabled increased intra-tumoral distribution and increased efficacy of an antibody-drug conjugate. Here, a PK/PD model was applied to predict the impact of this strategy on trastuzumab-gelonin, where the released payload (gelonin) is expected to exhibit negligible bystander activity. PK/PD simulations predicted that AIDEs with dissociation rate constants between 0.03-0.2 hour-1 would provide optimal efficacy enhancement. Two anti-trastuzumab AIDEs were selected for evaluation in vivo. Co-administration of trastuzumab-gelonin with the AIDE increased the portion of tumor area that stained positive for trastuzumab-gelonin by 58% (p=0.0059). Additionally, AIDEs co-administration improved trastuzumab-gelonin efficacy in NCI-N87 xenograft bearing mice by increasing the percent increase in life span (%ILS) from 27.8% to 83.3% (p=0.0007). These findings support our hypothesis that transient, competitive inhibition of mAb-tumor binding can improve the intra-tumoral distribution and efficacy of immunotoxins.
Resource-poor environments often endure structural impediments, including low median household income, limited access to healthcare, and food insecurity, which have negative consequences on health behaviors associated with HIV. It is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these concerns, particularly among people living with HIV (PLH). The relationships between food assistance, food insecurity, and care engagement among PLH have significant implications for public health. The purpose of this study was to explore socio-contextual factors that influence care engagement among PLH receiving food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty-five PLH receiving food assistance were recruited from January-October 2021. First, enrolled participants completed a survey assessing socio-demographic characteristics, medication adherence, and food insecurity. Second, semi-structured interviews discussed various socio-contextual factors that influenced engagement in HIV-related care. A thematic content analysis reported semantic level themes describing factors influencing HIV care following an integrated inductive-deductive approach. Most participants self-identified as male (52%), Black/African American (68%), and straight/heterosexual (60%). Ages ranged from 24-85 years (M=39.9 years, SD=17). Past-month antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence ranged from 75%-100% (M=95.5%, SD=6; the majority self-reported viral suppression (64%). More than half of participants were food insecure (56%), with 4%, 24%, and 28% indicating mild, moderate, and severe food insecurity, respectively. Qualitative analysis revealed two themes. First, participants described the impact of food insecurity on their HIV care through various mental health and behavioral pathways. Food insecurity eroded participants' mental wellbeing which affected their ART adherence and HIV care. Second, participants described the positive influence of social support on the facilitation of care. Support from clinicians, friends, and family helped participants adhere to ART and encouraged care engagement. Results indicate the need to prospectively study socio-contextual factors influencing HIV care among PLH receiving food assistance. Through a more nuanced understanding of these factors, interventions at the individual, community, and policy levels can be implemented to address food access with the goal of increasing engagement in HIV care.
Adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs) might signify women's risk of chronic diseases later in life. We examined the associations of the history of APOs, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, preterm birth, and low and high birth weight, with the risk of type 2 diabetes in a nationwide cohort of 49,717 postmenopausal women. We found that women with a history of one or more APOs had 16% (OR=1.16, 95% CI: 1.09, 1.22) elevated odds of diabetes compared to those without any APOs. Gestational diabetes, high birth weight, and gestational hypertension were associated with 181% (OR=2.18, 95% CI: 1.86, 2.54), 33% (OR=1.33, 95% CI: 1.20, 1.47), and 14% (OR=1.14, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.30) higher odds of diabetes, respectively, while preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight did not increase the risk. These findings suggest that women with a history of APOs might benefit from early and targeted interventions for diabetes prevention.
My objective was to examine the association between dietary pattern scores and the 5-year progression of periodontal disease in the Buffalo Osteoporosis and Periodontal Disease Study (OsteoPerio). We conducted analyses among 920 postmenopausal women at baseline 1997-2000. Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI), Alternative HEI (AHEI), Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and alternate Mediterranean Diet Score (aMed) were calculated at baseline. Periodontal assessments at baseline and the 5-year follow-up were obtained including whole mean mouth alveolar crestal height (ACH), percentage of gingival sites bleeding on probing (%BOP), pocket probing depth (PPD), and clinical attachment level (CAL). Linear regression models were used to examine the association with adjustment for baseline periodontal measures and confounders. Sensitivity analyses were run after accounting for tooth loss due to periodontal diseases. My results AHEI, DASH and aMed were found to have a modest and positive association with ACH. However, no statistically significant association was found in sensitivity analyses.
There is some evidence to date that food insecurity increases intimate partner violence (IPV) but no quantitative evidence for water insecurity and IPV. We examine the association between water insecurity and IPV among adolescents. This study used one round (Round 4) of data from a cluster randomized control trial conducted between 2017-2021 in 130 communities in the Mbeya and Iringa regions of Tanzania. We conducted bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses to examine the association between water insecurity (measured by the Household Water Insecurity Scale Experiences) and emotional and/or physical IPV (measured by an adapted Conflict Tactics Scale). Our study findings show that there is an association between water insecurity and IPV among adolescents in rural Tanzania. These associations were strong and positive, but were attenuated when adding adjustments for household food insecurity. Improvements in household water insecurity could be a promising avenue for reductions in IPV.
In vivo studies point to an estrogen-independent effect of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) on bone loss. Few large epidemiologic studies have evaluated the influence of FSH on bone in women. In a sample of 675 postmenopausal women, we examined cross-sectional associations of FSH with dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) derived bone mineral density (BMD), low bone mass (T-score between -2.5 and -1.5) and osteoporosis (T-score <-2.5) of the femoral neck. Results indicated FSH was significantly inversely correlated with femoral neck BMD (r=-0.23; p<0.001), which is slightly stronger than the positive correlation between estradiol and femoral neck BMD (r=0.14; p<0.001). In regression models, women in the highest tertile of FSH had higher odds of low bone mass at the femoral neck (OR=2.23; 95%CI=1.38-3.63) compared to women in the lowest tertile following adjustment for confounders. Higher FSH is associated with low femoral neck BMD even after accounting for estradiol in healthy postmenopausal women.
For around 1.7 million documented mild traumatic brain injuries in the United States of America, 178,285 TBIs are related to sports and recreation among adolescents (Sahler and Greenwood, 2012). Symptoms of sports-related concussions (SRC) can range from emotional outbursts, behavioral changes, loss of consciousness, and slow cognition after the injury (Sahler and Greenwood, 2012). One critical aspect of SRC is the proper assessment of cognitive symptoms so that accurate decisions regarding return to learning or playing can be made. The case-study participant, a 16-year old male who was 10-weeks post SRC, scored a 22/30, suggesting mild cognitive impairment. Deficits were noted in visuospatial execution, attention, language, abstraction, and delayed recall. For pediatric concussion patients, there is an urgent need for objective assessments for residual cognitive impairment and resulting participation deficits. Therefore, more research is needed to identify diagnostic tools for youths' appropriate treatment, leading to greater participation.
Hay Young Kwok
Our objective is to test the effect of COVID19 infection on hearing loss. We are testing the COVID19 isolate on cochlear cell lines. Primarily, our focus is on the cell viability which will lay ground for future studies. By learning about how Covid19 affects auditory cells, we can better understand the virus and its relationship with hearing loss, hence helping to fight it and developing methods to limit its effect, or even potentially generalize the idea on other spike protein viruses.
When auditory cells are exposed to hypoxic conditions, internal mechanisms work in overdrive to prevent the degeneration of important cellular processes. The effects of hypoxia within the cell elicits a downstream cascade of pathway mechanisms to prevent the degeneration of cellular activity and viability. In particular induced hypoxia creates an interesting response from the cell via the activation of anti-oxidant regulators that. By imposing ischemia-induced oxidative stress on cochlear cells, we can examine damage to DNA molecules and asses what regulators are affected by the intracellular change.
Rashed Elwaseem, Nadine Gilsey, Tasfiah Khan, Julian Quatela & Nicholas Wachowski
Who's behind the mask? There are so many students, we see each other everyday yet we don't know each other's faces. We all have stories behind these masks. What happened to us during the pandemic? The pandemic has stripped us of a "normal" college experience. We can't just hang out like we used to or look at each other like we used to. Our campaign is a "Humans of New York" sort of concept. We are sharing our stories to each other of what we went through during the pandemic. We created a social media campaign for UB students to come together and share their stories through the pandemic in a judgement free zone, while educating students on available resources on campus, and knowledge to reduce isolation.
The prostate is unique in that it secretes high levels of acetylated polyamines into its lumen, increasing polyamine biosynthetic demand which is enhanced in Prostate Cancer (CaP). This results in high flux through One Carbon (1-C) metabolism to provide S'-Adenosylmethionine (SAM), consumed in polyamine synthesis. This flux is driven by the acetylation of polyamines by Spermidine/ Spermine N1-Acetyltransferase (SSAT). The methionine salvage pathway (MSP) mitigates stress by regenerating SAM through methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP). Enhancing this stress through SSAT stabilization and MSP inhibition disrupts SAM and acetyl-CoA, required by epigenetic enzymes for chromatin modifications, and thus impacts their efficiencies. By leveraging high polyamine flux in CaP we disrupt chromatin acetylation and methylation and sensitize CaP to epigenetic therapies, JQ1 and Decitabine, which have limited efficacy due to their toxicities. Together, enhancing polyamine stress combined with epigenetic therapy JQ1 induces apoptosis via metabolic stress response pathways.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a deadly disease with a dense, desmoplastic (fibrotic) stroma that inhibits drug delivery. Approximately 25% of pancreatic cancer patients are prescribed benzodiazepines (BZDs) to treat anxiety, insomnia, or nausea. The goal of this research is to determine whether BZDs increase desmoplasia and decrease chemotherapeutic efficacy, via off-target activation of GPR68. The role of BZDs in modifying the tumor microenvironment (TME) is unknown. Recent studies indicate that BZDs promote the signaling of the proton-sensing G protein-coupled receptor, GPR68, under acidic conditions, such as those present in the TME. GPR68 is overexpressed by PDAC cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), and its expression drives pro-fibrotic and pro-inflammatory signaling, TME features associated with decreased chemotherapeutic efficacy. Using a mouse model of PDAC, we found that LOR promoted colla
Emergence of drug resistance in advanced prostate cancer (CaP) is inevitable, in part because of the ability of CaP cells to adopt androgen receptor (AR)-indifferent properties. Two major drivers of the shift to AR-indifference are the expansion of prostate cancer stem-like cells (PCSCs) and gain of neuroendocrine (NE) characteristics. We have shown that PCSC populations and NEPC are primarily glycolytic, representing a therapeutically exploitable metabolic shift. We hypothesized increased dependency on glucose metabolism in AR-indifferent CaP results in susceptibility to pharmacological manipulation of pyruvate flux. By targeting pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1 (PDK1), we found prostate cell lines lacking androgen-responsiveness are highly sensitive to PDK1 inhibition and PDK1 knockdown restores sensitivity to androgen blockade. Additionally, we found PDK1 expression correlates with NEPC transcriptomic features and NEPC models are highly sensitive to PDK1 inhibition. This work has established a novel therapeutic target in a disease setting where no targeted therapies currently exist.
As the end of my final semester approaches, I prepare for the future by placing a bow on a 4-year journey as an undergraduate. I share the childhood tendencies that drew me towards engineering, the wisdom of my various mentors, and the side of myself outside of academia. I create a roadmap that connects years of development and fun through reflection, to be able to share my own message through experience. This project gives a glimpse at the work I've done over this time, the highs and lows of my academic career, and my growth both as a student and individual.
Showcasing my capstone to faculty and students.
Throughout my portfolio I walk my readers through my college experience. I explain how I got where I am today, what made me choose my future career, what professors impacted my life and education and everything I learned along the way.